KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is on the right track to produce sufficient skilled workers by 2020 as the nation strives to achieve the high-income nation status by then.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot said in 2015, only 28 per cent or 3.4 million people out of the 14.8 million workforce in Malaysia are considered skilled.
"But in the last two years, we managed to raise it to 31 per cent of the workforce presently.
"The government aims to increase it to 35% or 5.3 million of the workforce by 2020 in order to be a developed nation.
"According to the International Labour Organisation, skilled workers are defined as those with at least diploma qualification," he said during a graduation ceremony for more than 300 RPEL technical diploma graduates here on Saturday.
He said RPEL will enable the graduates, who are mostly from the Bottom 40 per cent (B40) income group, to receive better pay which reflects their skills and experience.
Recognition are given to skilled workers who had no paper qualifications, thus contributing towards the nation's need for skilled workers, he said.
RPEL was introduced by Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) on 2 July 2009.
Under this scheme, employers can apply and eligible for financial assistance in getting recognition for their employees’ skills and experiences according to the competency level of the employee in enhancing the number of skilled workers in the national labour market.
Riot noted that 3,400 Malaysians had benefited from the RPEL scheme in 2016, at a cost of RM9 million to the government.