The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has urged the government to extend the Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 to professionals. MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said this followed the announcement of a second implementation of the programme, which is expected to benefit more than 1.3 million workers until the end of the year.
“Previously, under the Prihatin and Penjana programmes, we saw positive outcomes in reducing the number of people losing their jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic, especially among the lower-category employees. But for the employees in the higher category, which involves professionals or managers, we saw that their job security was also affected. The number of employees in the higher category being retrenched is larger. This group makes up more than 52 per cent of the total of 76,000 people who lost their jobs.”
Datuk Shamsuddin opined that a huge influx of job migration would take place if the problem was not addressed soon. “The prime minister had mentioned stories of a pilot who now worked as a food delivery rider, and a married couple, a former steward and stewardess, who had opened a car detailing shop. “So we see that workers from both categories are doing whatever they can to survive. “Before the pandemic, the gig industry was housing one million workers. “But it is expected to balloon up to 2.8 million this year. “This will create an imbalance between the gig economy sectors and professional industries.”
Under the Kita Prihatin Programme, RM2.4 billion had been allocated under the Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0. The subsidy would be given to affected employers who had suffered at least a 30 per cent loss since the Recovery Movement Control Order period, compared with last year.