KUALA LUMPUR,Nov 24: Human Resources Minister M Saravanan says his ministry will review the relevant labour laws to ensure protection is extended to more workers, such as those in the informal sector.

Responding to queries from several opposition MPs in the Dewan Rakyat, he said one challenge was that protection provided under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) was only for contributors.

However, he maintained that this was no excuse and assured that he will review the relevant acts, in view of the current economic climate caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are still studying how the government and relevant agencies can help (informal workers) although they are not covered under the current act. As the minister, I understand their problems and promise to take action to ensure their protection.

“What’s important is that both the opposition and the government are on the same page, that is to ensure the fate of workers are protected,” he said in his ministerial reply on the budget today.

He also said the ministry was open to improving the Employment Insurance System (EIS) Plus scheme under Socso, which provides recently retrenched individuals replacement income for up to six months while they search for other jobs.

The scheme currently provides applicants with 80% of their previous salary for the first month with a cap of RM4,000, then 50% for the second, 40% for the third and fourth, and 30% for the last two months.

He was responding to a proposal by Charles Santiago (PH-Klang) for the government to tweak the scheme to extend the payment period to one year and to increase the allowance to 80% of laid-off workers’ salaries for the whole year.

Saravanan said he will study the proposal’s feasibility, adding that applicants for EIS Plus were also encouraged to register with Socso’s MYFutureJobs for them to obtain new employment.

“Through this platform, Socso will help them look for jobs while also giving companies hiring incentives,” he said.

He added that the ministry had identified and blacklisted companies who were found to be misusing funds provided under the wage subsidy scheme and not dispensing full salaries to employees.

“We have identified and blacklisted these companies and will ask the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to take action.”


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