Commentary on Malaysia's Budget 2019 manpower measures

Commentary on Malaysia's Budget 2019 manpower measures

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In lieu of the #Belanjawan2019 (Budget 2019) announcement by Malaysia's Minister of Finance, Lim Guan Eng on 2 November 2018, several firms have released their views. [Read: Manpower and labour highlights: Malaysia Budget 2019]

Human Resources highlights the HR-relevant reactions from Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp), Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Foundation and NEM Malaysia below.


In a media statement released on Friday (2 November), TalentCorp expressed its appreciation for the Government's "timely response to the advent of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) and the urgent need to address the demands of the Future of Work."

The statement said: "The various allocations to upgrade our infrastructure for the digital economy are extremely necessary as IR4.0’s economy is set to be a highly competitive global marketplace, requiring an agile workforce powered by Internet-driven technology."

TalentCorp also presented its comments to the following areas of concern in preparing Malaysia's talent pool for the challenges of the IR4.0 workplace:

Improving the marketability of graduates

"The double taxation deductions will hopefully provide the much-needed support for the private sector to increase offerings of upskilling opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) programmes and diploma/degree courses, as well as structured training programmes for engineering and technology students."

Increasing the national female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) to the national target of 59% by 2020 

"The Government is taking the lead in encouraging women to return to work through the setting up of childcare centres for all Government offices, the private sector is strongly encouraged to follow suit in this effort. Further to this, there is also a push for more women in leadership roles, and to increase women on boards to 30%."

Encouraging the hiring of senior citizens who want to work

"The new tax incentives for companies that hire seniors (with a salary limit of RM4,000 a month), plus the reduction of mandatory EPF contributions from 6% to 4% will also aid in bringing back our most experienced talent to the workforce."

"Finally, TalentCorp is very encouraged by the Government’s focus on ensuring the national workforce’s overall well-being. The promise to review Malaysia’s labour laws, and the implementation of the Employment Insurance System (SIP), is a clear message that employer discrimination is a key area of concern, and talent overall well-being, a key priority."

Employees Provident Fund

Tunku Alizakri Alias, chief executive officer of EPF, said beyond the short-term challenges facing the country, Malaysia is expected to become an aged nation by 2030, when there will be fewer working-age people in the economy compared to today, supporting the needs of those who are retired. Measures taken to address this include:

  • Reducing the statutory contribution rate for post-retirees
  • Tax relief split between EPF contributions and takaful and life insurance premiums
  • Continuing e-Kasih RM40 monthly contribution for i-Suri

On these measures, Tunku Alizakri said: “This is an inclusive budget which takes into account the needs of all the major vulnerable segments of society. The measures broaden the foundation for the development of a strong social well-being infrastructure.

“Therefore, we are pleased that the Budget is geared towards enabling Malaysians to live their lives with dignity before and beyond retirement. In addition, retirees will now be able to continue to play a role as part of a productive workforce.” Foundation and NEM Malaysia

Stephen Chia, council member and regional head, Southeast Asia of Foundation highlighted the touchpoints below in his commentary released today (5 November):

Industry 4.0

"As we move into an era of digital transformation powered by emerging technologies that are shaping the world, we welcome the Government’s move to initiate measures to accelerate the adoption of, and access to, disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain. This will have a truly transformative impact on Malaysian businesses and drive innovation, efficiency and productivity across industries."

At the same time, Jasmine Ng, director, investment & special projects, NEM Malaysia said on women in the workforce: "We welcome the Government's efforts to empower women in the boardroom and the workforce. While 36% of the senior officers in the public sector are women, we laud the Government’s continued commitment in appointing women to more senior, managerial and decision-making roles, and we hope that this will be emulated by the private sector.

"We also welcome the government's initiative in making workspaces more conducive and welcoming for working mothers', especially in the public sector. We would like to see more being done in the private sector, especially for women in technology and we look forward to more detailed plans by the government in making this possible."

ALSO READ: The HR leader’s wishlist from Malaysia budget 2019

Photo / Official Malaysia Budget 2019's website

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