Los­ing GRIP

The Sun (Malaysia) - - FRONT PAGE - BY V. RAGANANTHINI

PETALING JAYA: The 1Malaysia Glob­ally Recog­nised In­dus­try and Pro­fes­sional Cer­tif i c a t i on (1Malaysi­aGRIP) train­ing and up­skilling pro­gramme has hit the ground with a thud.

The gov­ern­ment has di­rected t he dis­con­tin­u­a­tion of t he pro­gramme, which was meant to upgrade skills of work­ers un­der the aus­pices of the Hu­man Re­sources Devel­op­ment Fund (HRDF).

The or­der came af­ter em­ploy­ers made sev­eral com­plaints, in­clud­ing claims that HRDF had acted

by “trans­fer­ring em­ploy­ers’ con­tri­bu­tions to a con­sol­i­dated fund”.

Em­ploy­ers con­trib­ute 1% of their to­tal pay­roll to HRDF. Out of this con­tri­bu­tion, 30% is used for the 1Malaysi­aGRIP pro­gramme.

As of last year, RM86.3 mil­lion had been taken from em­ploy­ers’ in­di­vid­ual ac­counts and al­lo­cated to the 1Malaysi­aGRIP pro­gramme.

How­ever, only RM15.2 mil­lion was utilised, leav­ing about RM71.1 mil­lion, which HRDF chief ex­ec­u­tive Datuk C.M. Vig­naes­varan said in a cir­cu­lar dated Dec 22, would be put into a con­sol­i­dated fund.

Em­ploy­ers now want the money re­turned to their re­spec­tive in­di­vid­ual ac­counts.

Sources said the gov­ern­ment was told the pro­gramme brought lit­tle ben­e­fit while tak­ing a big chunk of the levy paid by em­ploy­ers. It was also ar­gued that putting the money in a con­sol­i­dated fund was un­nec­es­sary and done ar­bi­trar­ily.

HRDF set up the con­sol­i­dated fund last year with­out any con­sul­ta­tion and claimed its di­rec­tors who ap­proved it were mem­bers of trade bod­ies, in­clud­ing the Fed­er­a­tion of Malaysian Man­u­fac­tur­ers, the Malaysian Em­ploy­ers Fed­er­a­tion (MEF), SMI As­so­ci­a­tion of Malaysia and the var­i­ous cham­bers of com­merce.

Fol­low­ing protests from em­ploy­ers, HRDF held a se­ries of meet­ings to “ex­plain the ra­tio­nale for the con­sol­i­dated fund”. But it was ac­cused of “shov­ing it down the throats of em­ploy­ers” de­spite ve­he­ment protests.

HRDF had claimed it is en­ti­tled to use the funds in “any man­ner it deems fit” be­cause em­ploy­ers were not us­ing the funds to upgrade the skills of work­ers.

Be­sides HRDF-reg­is­tered em­ploy­ees, the pro­gramme was also open to non-reg­is­tered em­ploy­ees who would be funded sup­pos­edly through a RM150 mil­lion match­ing gov­ern­ment grant al­lo­cated specif­i­cally for the pro­gramme.

Sources said con­tri­bu­tions from the gov­ern­ment had not been forth­com­ing be­cause of the present fi­nan­cial sit­u­a­tion.

Hence, it was felt that it would be grossly un­fair to carry out the pro­gramme us­ing em­ploy­ers’ funds for those who do not con­trib­ute to HRDF.

It is learnt that the is­sue was brought up by the pri­vate sec­tor dur­ing a meet­ing of Spe­cial Task Force on Ser­vice De­liv­ery (Pe­mu­dah) where it was ex­ten­sively de­bated.

In a cir­cu­lar to em­ploy­ers, Vig­naes­varan said: “Re­fer­ring to the Pe­mu­dah meet­ing held on July 28 chaired by the chief sec­re­tary to the gov­ern­ment, it was in­structed that 1Malaysi­aGRIP be phased out.

How­ever, it is not im­me­di­ately known if the re­main­ing money in the con­sol­i­dated fund would be re­turned to em­ploy­ers.

IRAQI forces wear gas masks for pro­tec­tion af­ter Is­lamic State (IS) group ji­hadists torched a sul­phur fac­tory, about 30km south of Mo­sul.

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