Focus View
RM600 retrenchment benefit is not enough!
FocusM team | 12 Jan 2018 00:30
With more retrenchments looming as we start 2018, the spotlight is on the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and government to provide relief and support to those who have lost their jobs.

The latest news of AmBank Bhd’s mutual separation scheme (MSS), which aims to reduce the workforce by 1,200 to 1,500 employees, is another worrying sign. The Malaysian Employers Federation, on Jan 3, further painted a gloomy outlook saying as many as 50,000 Malaysians could be staring at a potential job loss this year.

What a way to start the new year! The Ministry of International Trade and Industry says most of those laid off will be re-employed in other sectors. But will this help all affected workers?

Socso currently provides short-term payment of RM600 per month for a maximum of three months to genuine cases of retrenchment under the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) implemented this month. Seriously, is RM600 per month the best that Socso and the government can do?

Let’s be real – RM600 can hardly cover the rental for a house in the Klang Valley. Can’t the government do more?

Socso can certainly do more as its chairman Tan Sri Dr Aseh Che Mat was reported as saying the organisation is estimating a collection of RM479.5 mil from the EIS this year, from 430,000 employers and 6.6 million workers.

The country’s unemployment rate is the lowest in the region at 3.3%. Still, as of September last year, 30,700 Malaysians had been retrenched. Now compare this to 37,699 and 38,499 Malaysians who lost their jobs in 2016 and 2015, respectively.

These figures are deeply troubling. If indeed the economy is slowly regaining strength, why are so many Malaysians expecting to be laid off?

With the general election around the corner, the last thing Malaysians want are short-term solutions. It’s time to act fast to help those facing layoffs with a more pragmatic and realistic solution.

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