The Finance Ministry has set job creation as one of its primary goals this year to help relieve the burden faced by the people due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said its minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
He said his ministry aims to create 500,000 new job opportunities with the setting up of the National Employment Council as well as systemic efforts under the "Jaminan Penjanaan Pekerjaan" (JanaKerja) scheme.
“The JanaKerja scheme is expected to create 250,000 job opportunities, reskilling and upskilling programmes will have 200,000, and the MyStep scheme (will add) another 50,000 job opportunities,” he said at a recent press conference held in conjunction with his one year anniversary as finance minister, The Borneo Post reported.
On efforts to address the economic downturn, Zafrul said the government has taken a 6R approach – resolve, resilience, restart, recovery, revitalise and reform.
He added that the government’s main priority was to find a balance between saving lives and livelihoods.
“Ultimately, it is all about outcomes. As difficult as things were in 2020, initiatives such as the Wage Subsidy Programme, through which RM14.4 billion has been disbursed, managed to save 2.7 million jobs and helped 320,000 employers.
“When crafting Budget 2021, we also had more than 6,000 engagements with numerous stakeholders from various sectors including NGOs and civil society organisations."
Zafrul said that given the Finance Ministry's thoroughness of the engagement process, he felt that all options had been considered and no stones had been left unturned.
“Of course, we could not predict the terrible floods in January, and combined with MCO 2.0, we swiftly came up with the Permai Assistance Package,” he added.
Last year, the government rolled out a wide range of economic stimulus measures totalling RM305 billion. In January, it unveiled Permai, its fifth economic stimulus package worth RM15 billion spread over 22 initiatives aimed at combating the Covid-19 outbreak.
Apart from this, the government allocated RM322.5 billion in Budget 2021, the largest budget in Malaysian history.
More assistance promised
“The government is also studying ways to uplift the people involved in the informal economy. A survey conducted on several People’s Housing Projects (PPR) in Kuala Lumpur revealed that there were still people left out and not registered with any government system, preventing the government from channelling aid to them,” said Zafrul.
He added that cash assistance from Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) with a total allocation of RM6.5 billion had been given to 8.5 million low income or B40 recipients.
“This BPR assistance has been expedited from May to February. Apart from that, the assistance also involves the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Account 1 withdrawal (i-Sinar) of up to RM10,000 per applicant, besides the social assistance for vulnerable groups,” he highlighted.