Give priority to local employees first, says Najib

May 1, 2017

Prime Minister Najib Razak has urged employers to prioritise on local workforce to fill job vacancy in helping the government to materialise its five core areas in the Workers Transformation Leap.

He said the government would organise the Job Fair @ UTC 2.0, to be launched on a large scale on May 20 at 11 Urban Transformation Centres (UTC) and four JobsMalaysia Centres nationwide, offering about 20,000 job vacancies from 300 employers.

“Do give chance to Malaysian workers, if possible. Don’t just offer jobs to foreigners. Give priority to the local workers,” he said followed by thunderous applause from the 5,000-strong crowd who came to listen to his 2017 Labour Day speech in Putrajaya today.

Najib said one of the emphasis in the Workers Transformation Leap was to empower employment services public agency, in which the government was now reviewing the roles of JobsMalaysia Centre so that it would be more interactive, effective, customer-friendly and could act as the facilitator in job matching between job seekers and employers.

The prime minister also launched the OKU (persons with disabilities) Talent Enhancement Programme (OTEP) under the transformation programme to enhance the skills and employability of the group.

Najib said, for a start, Sentoria Group Bhd and Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd had recruited 88 and 66 OKUs respectively, to be trained in various skills to meet the industry requirements.

In his message, the Prime Minister also shared a success story of an OKU, Noorazizah Muhammad Zambri, who succeeded in running her business, Ariff Kasturi Enterprise, and hired seven OKU workers via a grant amounting to over RM52,000 under the OKU Business Incentive Assistance Scheme.

On the second transformation leap, namely to optimise human capital as well as to strengthen policy planning and salary system, Najib said the government was now promoting the practice of the Productivity-Linked Wage System (PLWS).

He said such a measure was to overcome the income gap among the society and to strengthen the salary system in the private sector in ensuring that the increase in salaries corresponding to productivity.

“Almost 81,000 employers, involving approximately 3.5 million workers, have applied the PLWS as of April 2017.

“The government hopes that the target of 85,000 employers to implement the PLWS which will benefit about 3.7 million workers by 2020, will be achieved,” he said.

Najib said the government was in the midst of developing the National Wage Index (NWI), to be completed by July, as a benchmark to help the employers to determine the wage levels of their employees that corresponds to qualification, skills and productivity.

“I would like to suggest to the employers and industry players to apply the PLWS, NWI and payroll handbook…If the workers’ salaries commensurate with (their) qualifications, experience and productivity, this will certainly boost the competitiveness of (a particular) industry,” he said.

On the human capital aspect, the Prime Minister said the government would continue to strengthen its collaboration with the private sector in providing a conducive working environment for female employees, including reviewing maternity leave, as well as paternity leave for eligible male workers.

The efforts by the government bore fruit when the number of female participation in the labour market increased by almost 10% to 54.3 per cent last year, compared to only 45.8% in 2006, he said.

Najib also drew attention to the initiative by Maybank which allowed its female employees to go on maternity leave for up to a year.

Under the transformation leap on the technical and vocational education and training (TVET), he said over 80% of TVET students had secured employment within six months after graduating.

As for the transformation leap on prioritising the welfare and well-being of workers and vulnerable groups, Najib said several measures had been taken including the implementation of the national minimum wage policy.

According to the prime minister, statutory inspections on more than 121,000 employers revealed that 98% of them had complied with the minimum wage policy while the remaining 2% had been slapped with the notice of compliance.

Under the programme in recognising the experience and expertise of skilled workers via the Recognition of Prior Achievement (PPT) method, almost 125,000 employees had been certified in various skills which could indirectly improve their livelihood, he said.

Najib said the Malaysian Skills Certification System, introduced on July 1 last year, to gain employment in civil services had opened up opportunities to its certificate holders, as well as the graduates of the Malaysian Skills Certificate, Malaysian Skills Diploma and the Malaysian Skills Advanced Diploma.

Also being implemented was the Return to Work programme by the Social Security Organisation (Socso) dated back to 2007 with more than 70 per cent of its insured employees who were injured, having returned to work, he said.

The programme was also further supported with the establishment of Socso Rehabilitation Centre in 2014 which served as the leading and most comprehensive rehabilitation centre in Southeast Asia that had benefited a total of 1,373 participants.

Najib also cited the story of Muhammad Hairuman Miskon, who suffered from physical disabilities due to an electric shock but graduated with an Information Technology Certificate, and was hired by Efinite Value Sdn Bhd.

The Prime Minister also emphasised on the transformation leap aimed scehemat expanding the social security protection, among others, via the Employment Insurance System (SIP) and Self Employment Social Security Scheme.

In dealing with the challenges ahead, Najib advised the workers in the country to continue multiply their efforts to become skilled workers who are competent, creative and innovative so that Malaysia would be more competitive and successful.

“This includes training themselves to be multi-tasking, multi-skills and multi-talented, so that (they) will not just easily be accepted in the job market, but also be recognised at international level…This will also enhance their skills and work culture which will contribute to high productivity, value, thinking and skills in order to become high income workers,” he said.

The Prime Minister also said the world was now experiencing the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ which came in the form of various change agents such as information technology and internet, robotics, nano technology, automation tasks and 3D (three dimensional) printing.

Citing a report from the World Economic Forum which covered 65 per cent workforce globally, Najib said about 7.1 million jobs had the potential to disappear between 2015 to 2020 due to redundancy, automation and disintermediation.

As such, he said, among the proactive measures to deal with these challenges, were by focusing on Digital Economy which could create 60,000 new jobs and, at the same time, able to contribute more than 20% of revenue to the gross domestic product (GDP).

In ensuring the competitiveness and survival of the country, the government had emphasised on innovation and productivity aspects via the 11th Malaysia Plan as one of the main drives to generate wealth and spur economic growth, Najib said.

Present at the 2017 Labour Day celebration, themed ‘Creative Workers Spur Innovation’, were Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem, Public Service Department director-general Zainal Rahim Seman as well as trade union heads of public and private sectors. –Bernama