KUALA LUMPUR,  Nov 7 — The establishment of the National Employment Council will focus on efforts to create nearly 500,000 new job opportunities as well as address unemployment, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

He said the council will also involve the private sector and skilled groups to assist the government besides providing views on steps needed to achieve this purpose. 

“Among the people’s concerns at this time is the issue of employment, whether they keep their jobs, get dismissed or are unemployed.

“In this regard, this is a step forward so that we can manage the problem of unemployment, including among graduates and those who have been provided with upskilling and reskilling training, who we can retrain so that they are provided with suitable jobs.

“That is why the Cabinet decided to establish the National Employment Council. In most countries, there is such a council… we also have (something similar) but (they work) in silo, many committees are formed but they do not provide measures to generate new jobs,” he said when appearing on the Agenda Awani talk show tonight.

Muhyiddin said reskilling and upskilling training for some unemployed groups are ongoing currently to enable them to adapt to jobs that will be generated through new economic activities.

At the presentation of Budget 2021 yesterday, the government announced the establishment of the National Employment Council, which will be chaired by Muhyiddin. The council will coordinate various initiatives across ministries and agencies to create employment opportunities, skills upgrading and training of workers.

At the same time, Muhyiddin said various incentives will also be given to investors, both from within and outside the country for at least two years as part of the government’s efforts to create more employment opportunities.

“We can see the current situation we are in, not only has the B40 group grown larger, the M40 group is also shrinking in numbers due to loss of jobs.

“This situation requires us to provide employment opportunities, manage (the situation) so that no Malaysian workers are laid off, (and) that is why wage subsidy assistance is given to help companies face this difficult situation,” he said.

Aware of the fact that there are more than 860,000 people unemployed in the country currently, the prime minister hoped measures taken in Budget 2021 will be able to create new job opportunities for those affected.

He said in such a difficult situation, the government has provided various incentives and subsidies to help small and medium enterprises as well as micro-entrepreneurs to ensure that they do not fall under the ‘social safety net’.

Meanwhile, on the government’s move to allow withdrawals from Account 1 of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Muhyiddin said it was after considering the difficult situation the people were in. 

“We were quite reluctant initially. It is not that we do not want to allow it, but rather about guaranteeing contributors’ future. We had allowed withdrawals from Account 2 (i-Lestari) previously, and now from Account 1, so what is going to be left for their future.

“But since the ‘calls’ (for EPF withdrawal) were getting stronger from those affected, this perhaps after running out of savings, the government decided to allow it for targetted groups,” he said.  


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