LABOUR OF LOVE

THE gov­ern­ment has al­ways made it a pri­or­ity to look af­ter the wel­fare of work­ers. In line with this, the prime min­is­ter an­nounced two schemes on Labour Day to boost their well­be­ing. The first is an in­surance plan that ben­e­fits 6.5 mil­lion pri­vate sec­tor

New Straits Times - - Front Page - RE­PORTS BY AZURA ABAS AND HASHINI KAVISHTRI KANNAN

THE wel­fare of work­ers and those who are self­em­ployed are high up on the gov­ern­ment list of pri­or­i­ties if the in­tro­duc­tion of two schemes was any­thing to go by.

In con­junc­tion with the Labour Day cel­e­bra­tion here yes­ter­day, Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak an­nounced the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Em­ploy­ment In­surance Scheme (EIS) in 2018 and the ex­pan­sion of the Self-Em­ploy­ment So­cial Se­cu­rity Scheme cov­er­age scope.

The two schemes were among the mea­sures un­der­taken by the gov­ern­ment un­der the Work­ers Trans­for­ma­tion Leap pro­gramme in terms of ex­pand­ing the so­cial se­cu­rity cov­er­age.

For EIS, he said, the gov­ern­ment had al­lo­cated RM70 mil­lion for in­ter­est pay­ment un­der the scheme, which would ben­e­fit some 6.5 mil­lion pri­vate sec­tor em­ploy­ees who would get bet­ter pro­tec­tion un­der the ex­ist­ing Em­ploy­ees’ So­cial Se­cu­rity Act 1969.

“With EIS, work­ers will get tem­po­rary fi­nan­cial aid to sup­port them­selves and their fam­i­lies for a stip­u­lated pe­riod while they are look­ing for new em­ploy­ment.

“For those who lost their jobs, they will also get other job ser­vice sup­port, in­clud­ing in job search, job match­ing, ca­reer coun­selling and train­ing,” Na­jib told some 5,000 peo­ple who turned up for this year’s Labour Day cel­e­bra­tion, themed “Cre­ative Work­ers, In­no­va­tion Mak­ers”.

Present were Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem, his deputy, Datuk Seri Is­mail Abd Mut­talib, Pub­lic Ser­vice Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Datuk Seri Zainal Rahim Se­man and Hu­man Re­sources Min­istry sec­re­tary-gen­eral Datuk Seri Ade­nan Ab Rahman.

Na­jib said the ben­e­fit pay­ments of EIS were ex­pected to be made from Jan 1, 2019.

He said EIS was a long-term mea­sure not only to help af­fected work­ers, but also to pre­serve and boost sus­tain­able eco­nomic growth if re­ces­sion oc­curs, adding that laws for EIS were be­ing fine­tuned and ex­pected to be tabled in the next Par­lia­ment ses­sion.

“For me, EIS is like the say­ing ‘dig a well be­fore it rains’. In this re­spect, I urge all, es­pe­cially em­ploy­ers, to sup­port the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the scheme.”

Another mea­sure was to in­clude other self-em­ployed work­ers aside from taxi driv­ers and ehail­ing ser­vice Uber and GrabCar driv­ers into the Self-Em­ploy­ment So­cial Se­cu­rity Scheme.

Na­jib said the gov­ern­ment was look­ing at get­ting other self-em­ployed work­ers into the scheme, in­clud­ing fish­er­men, farm­ers, traders and artists.

“This scheme will al­low self­em­ployed work­ers to be cov­ered in the event of oc­cu­pa­tional ac­ci­dents or if they suf­fer from oc­cu­pa­tional dis­eases.”

The Self-Em­ploy­ment So­cial Se­cu­rity Scheme is sched­uled to be im­ple­mented on June 1.

Four other trans­for­ma­tion leap pro­grammes are on pri­ori­tis­ing work­ers’ wel­fare; op­ti­mis­ing hu­man cap­i­tal and strength­en­ing pol­icy plan­ning, as well as wage sys­tem; en­abling tech­ni­cal, vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion train­ing; and, em­pow­er­ing pub­lic em­ploy­ment ser­vice provider agen­cies.

Na­jib also listed other mea­sures taken in pri­ori­tis­ing work­ers’ wel­fare, in­clud­ing the Na­tional Min­i­mum Pol­icy, which saw the com­pli­ance of 98 per cent out of more than 121,000 job providers.

“In ad­dress­ing cost of liv­ing, we have done a lot, such as 1Malaysia Peo­ple’s Aid, Hous­ing Project for the Hard­core Poor, 1Malaysia Peo­ple’s Hous­ing Pro­gramme and 1Malaysia Civil Ser­vants Hous­ing for work­ers in the Mid­dle and Bot­tom 40 brack­ets.”

Un­der the So­cial Se­cu­rity Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s (Socso) re­turn to work pro­gramme, Na­jib said, more than 70 per cent in­sured work­ers were re­ha­bil­i­tated and re­turned to the work­force.

Un­til March, he said, 1,373 work­ers had ben­e­fited from the state-of-the-art Socso re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion cen­tre based in Malacca.

“This is the only such com­pre­hen­sive cen­tre avail­able in South­east Asia.”

FADLI HAMZAH PIC BY MOHD

Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Razak at the Labour Day cel­e­bra­tions at the Pu­tra­jaya In­ter­na­tional Con­ven­tion Cen­tre yes­ter­day. With him are Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem (on Na­jib’s right) and his deputy, Datuk Seri Is­mail Abd Mut­talib (sec­ond from Na­jib’s right).

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