SMEs affected by floods exempted from 1% levy

By LYDIA NATHAN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the recent floodings will be exempted from the 1% levy to the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) for the next six months.

The exemption will be effective immediately on Jan 1, 2018, until June 30, 2018, for SMEs in the northern states of Peninsular Malaysia — mainly Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Richard Riot Jaem (picture) said he hopes that by waiving this levy, the SMEs will hopefully be able to recover and regain their business footing.

“We hope that it will help ease the financial burdens they may have after the floods and we want to assist the businesses to regain traction,” he said to reporters at the HRDF and Trainers’ Conference and Exhibition 2017 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The 1% levy is an ongoing effort by HRDF for registered employers to put aside money to upscale and rescale their workers via training.

There are 21,000 registered SMEs with HRDF, with 2,500 in Penang alone.

HRDF director Malar Ramalingam said the fund is utilised to ensure training is carried out regularly for the workers.

“Some SMEs may be reluctant to send their workers for training because they lose manpower or they don’t have the budget for it.

“With this levy, it is compulsory for employers to pay HRDF 1% of an employee’s salary monthly. Employers can then draw from the fund when employees need training,” she said.

Malar said the fund applies to only Malaysian workers, as a push from the government to encourage local businesses to stay afloat with current trends and technology.

Riot Jaem also said the HRDF Act 2001 (also known as the PSMB Act 2001) will be expanded to more sectors soon.

“Many sectors are currently not covered right now; there are 63 subsectors under this fund and by adding more, more players will have the knowledge and right training to be better prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0),” he said.

The expansion is expected to increase the number of eligible employee training from its current 1.77 million to 2.8 million by 2020.

Meanwhile, HRDF partnered with the Asean Data Analytics eXchange to host the HRDF and Trainers’ Conference and Exhibition 2017, aiming to propel the Malaysian workforce to achieve global competitiveness and in preparation for Industry 4.0.

The three-day conference was conceptualised around global trends on big data, analytics application and its impact on human capital.

HRDF CEO Datuk CM Vignaesvaran Jeyandran said businesses will soon realise the disruption revolution is increasing exponentially.

“New technology will change the way businesses operate; it is only as good as the talents that utilise the tools. Therefore, we must start overcoming the barriers we face,” he said.

The conference will have speakers, panellist and moderators from over 30 companies and 2,500 delegates from Singapore, Nigeria, Malaysia and the UK.