Budget 2023: Youth wants govt to expand 5G technology, gig economy

YOUNG people want the government to consider expanding the 5G network infrastructure, developing the gig economy sector and increasing the minimum wage in Budget 2023 which will be tabled Oct 7.

Prihatin Youth Club president Luqman Hakim Md Zim said the government must consider the provision of the infrastructure as a whole, especially in rural areas, to boost the digital economy sector which is now being pioneered by young people.

He said the move would be able to narrow the income gap considering that the network facilities are currently more focused in urban areas.

“I feel the government needs to take advantage of this digital economy and provide a comprehensive infrastructure so that the country is able to boost competitiveness among the youth community, thus stimulating the national economy,” he told Bernama recently.

At the same time, he said the government should develop the gig economy sector by not only giving opportunities to logistics and parcel-hailing (p-hailing) services but also those involving highly skilled jobs.

“The government should further expand the gig economy sector by promoting jobs that require highly skilled workers such as graphic designers, animators, illustrators, coders and so forth,” he said.

Meanwhile, Universiti Malaya Business and Economics Faculty senior lecturer Dr Diana Abdul Wahab also recommended that the government review the problem of “overeducation” which has resulted in youth and graduates turning to the gig economy sector such as p-hailing, instead of pursuing employment in their fields of study.

“For example, it is a waste for an engineering graduate to work in the gig economy sector after investing so much time, effort and money for three to four years at the university,” she said.

She added that the government should identify the skill gaps in the job market that had resulted in overeducation and the most effective measures to ensure highly skilled graduates are employed for national development.

In addition, Diana proposed that the government review the appropriate minimum wage for youth by giving specific incentives to small and medium businesses and focusing on hiring local workers.

“If we are able to give decent wages to our local youth, I’m sure many will be willing to work in the agricultural, construction and other sectors.

“We do not want a surplus of foreign workers just because it is difficult to get the locals to fill job vacancies. This is the excuse of some employers so that they can get away with paying low wages to foreign workers,” she added. — Bernama