The government is introducing a new initiative called Malaysians@Work (#MalaysiaKerja). The initiative is aimed at providing better job opportunities for youth and women, as well as reducing over-dependency on foreign labour for lower-skilled jobs.
Malaysians@Work is divided into four separate programmes based on their intended target groups – graduates, women, locals, and apprentices. With the exception of the scheme for apprentices, all of the Malaysians@Work initiatives will be managed by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). Thus, the incentives offered will be entered into each employee’s EPF account each month.
- Aimed at graduates who have been unemployed for more than 12 months.
- These graduates who manage to secure work will receive a wage incentive of RM500 per month for 2 years.
- Their employers will receive a hiring incentive up to RM300 per month for each new hire for 2 years.
- Aimed at providing 33,000 job opportunities per year for women who have stopped working for a year or longer and are between 30-50 years old.
- These women who return to the workforce will receive a wage incentive of RM500 per month for 2 years.
- Their employers will receive a hiring incentive of up to RM300 per month for 2 years.
- The current income tax exemption for women returning to work after a career break will be extended for another 4 years up until 2023.
- Aimed at incentivising the shift away from low-skilled foreign workers to prioritising local labour by equalising the cost of hiring.
- Malaysians who are hired to replace foreign workers will receive either RM350 or RM500 per month (depending on the sector) for 2 years.
- Their employers will receive a hiring incentive of up to RM250 per month for 2 years.
- Aimed at encouraging more youth to enter TVET courses.
- Trainees on apprenticeships will receive an additional RM100 per month on the existing allowance.
- Companies participating in the Skim Latihan Dual Nasional (SLDN) will get a double tax deduction on expenses incurred for another 2 years.
- The double tax deduction currently given to companies undertaking Structured Internship Programmes (SIP) approved by TalentCorp will be expanded to include students from all academic fields, not just engineering and technology.
The government believes that Malaysians@Work will enable unemployed Malaysians to gain the necessary skills and capabilities with on-the-job training and increase the overall employment retention rate. The programme will cost RM6.5 billion over 5 years and is expected to create an additional 350,000 jobs for Malaysians, as well as reduce foreign workers dependency by more than 130,000 workers.