‘New collar’ workers needed to support growing demand

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN

MALAYSIA needs “new collar” employees or individuals with technical, vocational and soft skills to fulfil industry demands, said Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture). He said such jobs are imperative to the country in order to achieve its goal as a high-income nation by 2020.

“These skills do not require tertiary education, but the technical and vocational education and training (TVET),” he said in a statement yesterday.

He said the need for new collar jobs came after the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) concluded its eighth meeting this year.

TVET is one of the key components in the 10th Malaysia Plan. It is the primary force of the government’s aspiration to raise the percentage of skilled workers in the country to 35% in 2020 from the current 28%.

However, it was highlighted last month that while 92% of TVET graduates are able to obtain employment after graduation, about 70% of them earn less than RM1,500 per month.

Since its first meeting in January this year, NLAC has deliberated on various important issues pertaining to labour and human resources. These include the proposed amendments to labour laws, the national human resources policy framework and the code of conduct for industrial harmony.

NLAC has also established technical committees on labour laws reform and other issues such as future of work.

“I am pleased to note that our efforts in the technical committees have been fruitful. For example, the good work of the technical committee paved the way for the Parliament to pass the Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities (Amendment) Bill 2019 recently,” said Kulasegaran.

Meanwhile, the Human Resources Ministry has taken note of the Malaysian Trade Union Congress’ (MTUC) request for details of the Integrated Foreign Workers Management Systems’ enhanced system to be tabled in the NLAC meeting for collective deliberation.

The MTUC also welcomed the ministry’s proposal to incorporate the Code of Conduct of Industrial Harmony into the regulations of the Industrial Relations Act 1967, said Kulasegaran.

Earlier in the meeting, the NLAC was briefed about the study tour to Australia’s Fair Work Commission, Fair Work Ombudsman and the Federal Court in Melbourne, Australia, on employment and industrial relations issues. The ninth NLAC meeting is expected to be held on Sept 27.

The ministry, in collaboration with the Finance Ministry, will hold a Budget 2020 focus group meeting on enhancing employee welfare and employment opportunities next week.

NLAC members representing employers and employees have been invited to attend the focus group meeting for their input and feedback on the subject matter.