Tengku Zafrul: Malaysia must also weigh jobs on quality, not quantity alone

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Malaysia needs to also consider the quality of jobs in the country and not fixate over their numbers alone, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said.

In an interview with Astro Awani, he said a shift in mindset was needed in how the country views investments and their spillover effects on the community.

“I’ve been told that we have been too focused on the total value. But what’s important to me is that we have to try to change our mindset, we have to measure not only the value but the quality of jobs and their impact.

“We have to measure based on the salary of these jobs, and how it impacts the gross domestic product and the community. We also have to monitor the investments and what it has achieved in three or five years,” he said on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

He said that based on conversations with stakeholders, the Cabinet, and business owners, Malaysia has the potential to be a high-value nation and global investment destination.

“Firstly, we have good infrastructure like the internet and roads. Second, we have high-skilled talents even when compared to other countries. Third, we have had fairly consistent investment policies.

“I hope that with this new government, these three issues will attract more investors in the industries that will add value and have a high impact,” he said.

Tengku Zafrul added that the discourse of environmental, sustainability and governance (ESG) goals featured heavily in the forum, and Malaysia must be ready to work towards compliance in the near future.

“Developed countries have already begun implementing practices like carbon taxes, and our Malaysian SMEs have to be ready to face the challenges of meeting these standards.

“Many of these issues have been raised because we need a period of transition. It’s easy for these big companies with large funding to comply with ESG standards, but smaller SMEs not only need the funds but also the guidance to comply,” he said.

He added that an ESG framework for the manufacturing sector is currently being drawn up.

Tengku Zafrul will also participate in a two-panel session on “Global Trade: Navigating The Post Pandemic Supply Chain Challenge” together with Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of Dubai-based DP World.