KUALA LUMPUR, March 5 — Malaysian youths should equip themselves with multiple skills to remain competitive, in light of the global economic recovery amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economic Affairs) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said it is important for youths to obtain the right skills set, especially since the country is increasingly focusing on the high-end manufacturing and services sector. 

“Talents are the key for us to be a competitive nation, as we also want to achieve a high income, inclusive and sustainable economy,” he said at the Youth Economic Forum (YEF) 2021 as a panelist for the virtual session titled ‘The Economic Agenda — The World in a Structural Break: A New Direction for Emerging Economies’ today. 

He noted that as Malaysia embarks on the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (12MP) (2021-2025), there is much to be done on the technology adoption front.

He cited South Korea as an example where technological advances have been significant, despite both countries being at a similar level of growth 40 years ago. 

“We need to implement game-changers, especially in the quality of education and investment, as there is a need to reform and revamp our vocational education and policies to produce quality and agile workforce.

“These need to be implemented effectively on the ground. We need to buck up and get things right,” said Mustapa.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed some weaknesses in the government’s structural issues and highlighted the need to further strengthen micro-enterprises to embrace digitalisation — issues which need to be addressed aggressively. 

Mustapa added that the government also needs to obtain new skills set in order to better manage situations in the new norm.

This includes adapting to the changes in the labour market, providing more adequate social protection and enhancing existing laws, as well as implementing the COVID-19 vaccine programme more effectively. 

He noted that the private sector also needs to adapt to the new economic landscape as the gig economy and the sharing economy are becoming more important with the advancements in the digital world. 


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