Govt to draft comprehensive measures under Budget 2021

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government will draft comprehensive measures under Budget 2021 by using findings from a Prihatin survey conducted between Aug 19 and Sept 22.

Among the findings that will be considered are increasing support for mental health services and facilitating access to assistance for vulnerable groups.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the government will also consider increasing job opportunities, strengthening the role of government-linked companies in supporting communities and enhancing the role of social enterprises.

“The government is aware there is room for further improvement and will always give the best for the people, businesses and economy,” he said in the 25th Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (Laksana) report yesterday.

Conducted by Laksana, the Prihatin survey, which involved more than 11,000 respondents and field trips to more than 10 locations nationwide, was intended to get public feedback on the impact of the implementation of the Prihatin package.

Tengku Zafrul also said more than 80% of the respondents were satisfied with the implementation of the Prihatin package.

“Around 50% of respondents have received between three and five different assistances which show that the diversity of the Prihatin assistance has been able to protect the people from various needs,” he said.

As of Oct 2, a total of RM11.96 billion in wage subsidies were approved to benefit more than 322,022 employers and up to 2.6 million employees.

A total of 61,339 individuals have also obtained approval to participate in the reskilling and upskilling programmes.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the national labour market is stable and recovering with the number of unemployed recorded in August 2020 as 741,400 people compared to 745,100 people in July.

He said the unemployment rate remained at 4.7% in August as the decline in the number of unemployed people was marginal.

“Unemployment rate among youths aged 15 to 30 also registered an encouraging drop, slipping below 9% to 8.9% for the first time in months to 502,300.

“The youth unemployment rate was above 9% from April to July this year, with 544,500 youths being unemployed in July,” he said.

While the labour market is improving, Mustapa said the government is aware that the monthly unemployment number remains high compared to the average 494,000 people for the 2016-2019 period.

Mustapa said the rising trend of new Covid-19 cases could potentially pose a challenge for people to enter the job market.

Therefore, the government will continue to focus on expediting the country’s economic recovery so that more job opportunities could be created and more unemployed individuals could go to work, thus driving Malaysia to regain full employment.