Kelly Services congratulates the government on the 2019 National Budget which focuses on people’s wellbeing and enables an inclusive society.

Incentives towards a more balanced workforce
We welcome the measures taken by 2019 budget to encourage women participation in the Malaysian workforce. The allocation of RM 10 million to build day care centres at government agencies will certainly encourage mothers to return to work and help contribute to the nation’s economy. Furthermore, it is encouraging to see the government state their commitment to achieve the target of 30% women working in decision making roles by 2020. The push for public listed companies to include more women in their board of directors is a step in the right direction.

However, we would have liked to see a clearer strategy by the government on how they plan to bridge the gender gap in the Malaysian workforce in the coming year.

Increasing employability of local labour
The Government’s announcement to review local labour laws is certainly a good step forward. Providing legal provisions to local labourers to protect their welfare and prevent discrimination among employers will certainly be a boost. The establishment of the Industrial Appeals Court to further expedite the resolution of disputes between employers and employees also ensures that local labourers’ rights are protected without undue delay.

While these initiatives are encouraging, we were hoping to see a clear plan by the government on upskilling and empowering technical labour in Malaysia. These roles are often filled by foreign labour, and a government intervention on upskilling local labourers would help increase their demand in the market.

Timeline on minimum wages
While employees will be celebrating increase in minimum wages from RM 1050 to RM 1100, we are concerned about the impact of this sudden announcement on businesses that previously expected the increase to only remain at 5%. As the year end approaches, organizations have less than 2 months to implement the changes announced in today’s budget. This might be problematic specially for enterprises with a large bench.

Moving forward, we hope to hear from the government on a timeline on raising the benchmark on minimum wages, allowing time for businesses to strategize and put into effect the changes in the minimum wages

Boosting graduate employability
As we are in the business of workforce solutions, boosting the employability of the Malaysian workforce is a key focus for us. We are delighted with the 2019 Budget emphasis is on human capital development with a number of initiatives to improve graduate employability. The allocation of RM 20 million in “Apprenticeships” and “Graduate Enhancement Programme For Employability” (GENERATE) programmes will help bring down the unemployment numbers in Malaysia over the coming years.

We also welcome the government initiatives in providing a resolution to the talent mismatch between graduates and the needs of employers by investing RM60.2 billion in various education initiatives. The establishment of TVET Prestige fund and TVET sponsored bootcamps announced in the budget will go a long way in ensuring our graduates have the right skills.

Contributed by Brian Sim, Deputy General Manager for Kelly Services, Malaysia (pic)