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Roundup: Key HR initiatives introduced in Malaysia in 2019

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Malaysia’s Ministry of Human Resources has released a report on its 2019 achievements, detailing key initiatives such as the increase of the minimum wage rate, the introduction of TVET assistance programmes, the development of the National Wage Index, and more.

The key points of the report relevant for HR leaders in Malaysia have been summarised below:

Implementation of the National Wage Index 

The National Wage Index (NWI) was launched by the Minister of Human Resources on 19 February 2019, designed to measure wage and wage changes in the Malaysian labour market based on the major job categories under MASCO and the economic sector under MSIC.

The NWI can be used by policymakers, employers and investors as a guide for designing structured salary, salary level and salary adjustment. In addition, the NWI can also serve as a guide to the working class as benchmarks and assessments of their pay increases.

Increase in minimum wages

Last year saw the increasing of Malaysia’s minimum wages, from RM1,000 to RM1,100 effective 1 January 2019.

Towards the end of the year, the government further announced the raising of the minimum wage rate to RM1,200 for 57 major towns, with an estimated 1.3mn workers expected to benefit from this. This took effect from 1 January this year.

Enhancement of TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Programme, SIP

As of March 2019, TalentCorp has improved the Career Comeback Programme with employer-sponsored support and retention grants, to make it easier for employers to practise skills training or retraining (returnship co-funding).

Apart from this, TalentCorp also recently expanded the Structured Internship Programme (SIP) to include graduates from the engineering and technology field.

According to the report, the implementation of SIP 2019 will include TVET / graduate student engagement starting from Skills 3-5, diploma and bachelor’s degree levels. The expansion of this initiative will also encourage more industry participation including the active involvement of small and medium enterprises and start-ups to make them more likely training the country’s youth.

On a whole, the programme is expected to have benefited more than 200,000 undergraduates and TVET trainers in over 100,000 private firms nationwide.

New mechanism in place for appealing to the High Court

In his Budget 2019 speech, Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng announced the proposed establishment of the Industrial Appeals Court.

In line with this, the draft of the EAC was submitted to the Attorney General’s Chambers and was replaced by a direct appeal mechanism to the High Court.

With this new mechanism, amendments were made to Act 177 as follows:

  • Section 33A was removed.
  • Section 33C now provides for a new mechanism for the appeal process where a case brought by the Industrial Court to the High Court was not limited to only legal questions. This would allow for the expedition of the appeal process, giving the aggrieved party the right to appeal based on factual questions and legal questions.

Expansion of TVET learning initiatives

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Ministry of Human Resources and Sekolah Menengah Poi Lam (SUWA) in May last year. Based on this MOU, the partnership will cover the following:

  • The ministry offers VET Teaching Certificate courses to TVET teachers from participating schools, the terms and conditions set by the Skills Development Department of the ministry;
  • The ministry can award Malaysia Level 3 Certificate of Skills and Malaysian Skills Diploma Level 4 for TVET students, in recognition of prior achievement as per requirements;
  • The ministry may allow students from private schools to participate in the training programme at 32 Department Training Institutions Human Resources (ILJTM), through Skill Tendencies.

Establishment of the Institute-Industry Management Board in MOHR

The ministry set up an Institute-Industry Management Board starting in 2019, as a platform that will engage the industry and direct the implementation of skills training at 32 ILJTM institutions nationwide.

As a result, the department has the opportunity to gain input relevant to the industry regarding the current technological needs and developments occurring within job market. Inputs from this industry can be used for planning appropriate courses and continuous improvement from time to time to ensure that human capital is issued to meet market demand.

Approval of the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy

This policy was approved by the Cabinet and self-signed by YAB Tun Dr. Mahathir Bin Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia in January 2019.

Among the elements contained in the policy include increasing engagement and cooperation of government agencies, employers, workers, industry unions, stakeholders and stakeholders through the Department of Occupational Safety and Health to strengthen management and governance of the national MCC; ensuring employers provide a workplace with a safe and healthy working system, while caring for the welfare of their employees at work, and more.

Development of SkillsMalaysia 2.0

SkillsMalaysia 2.0, a new identity for TVET, includes skills fields under the Ministry of Human Resources. The purpose of this programme is to raise awareness of TVET and skills training that can provide career opportunities towards developing countries, while empowering TVET and skills training as well as creating new collar job opportunities or, “New Collar Jobs” that do not rely solely on academic qualifications solely but to the skills or “skills set” of the employee.

In line with the country’s Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, SkillsMalaysia 2.0 targets 60% of SPM graduates to participate in TVET and skills training to reach 35% of the nation’s top skilled workers.

Achievements of other KPIs

For the year 2019, the Malaysian Industrial Court (MPM) successfully resolved 3,160 cases compared to 2,720 targeted cases. This resulted in 116.17% achieved compared to the target case percentage of 57%.

To ensure that this goal continues to be achieved, the MPM will continue to adopt the strategies adopted promotes case-solving through alternative dispute dissolution methods such as mediation and early assessment of cases; require the use of e-filing and e-submission; limiting the number of holds cases by the disputing parties; ensuring that the awards are downgraded within the stipulated period; and optimising the use of digital recording system and automated speech recognition.

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