According to a New Straits Times report, Malaysia is on track to produce a skilled workforce by 2020. In the report, human resources minister Datuk Richard Riot mentioned that the country has managed to raise it to 31% of the workforce at present, as the country strives to achieve its high-income nation status by 2020.

In comparison, only 28% (or 3.4 million out of the 14.8 million) in Malaysia's workforce was considered skilled two years ago in 2015.

Moving forward, Datuk Riot said: "The government aims to increase it to 35% or 5.3 million of the workforce by 2020 in order to be a developed nation.”

"According to the International Labour Organisation, skilled workers are defined as those with at least diploma qualification," he added, during a graduation ceremony on Saturday for more than 300 Recognition Of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) technical diploma graduates in Kuala Lumpur.

Introduced by the Human Resources Development Fund in 2009, Datuk Riot remarked that RPEL will enable graduates, who are mostly from the bottom 40% of the income group, to receive better salaries which reflect their skills and experience. 

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He highlighted that recognition are given to skilled workers who had no paper qualifications, thus contributing towards the nation's need for skilled workers. 

Under this scheme, employers can apply for financial assistance in getting recognition for their employees’ skills and experiences according to the competency level of the employee in enhancing the number of skilled workers in the national labour market.

Riot also noted in the report that 3,400 Malaysians had benefited from the RPEL scheme in 2016, at a cost of RM9 million to the government.

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