By Rajiv Rishyakaran
THE basic duty of any employer in Malaysia is to ensure the safety of its employees. It is for this reason that the Social Security Organisation (Socso) was established – to provide social security protection to employees and their dependants in the event of injury, disability or death.
The Government has made it compulsory for all employers to register and contribute to Socso for their employees, including foreign workers.
However, they seem to have missed out on some 400,000 gig economy workers whose employers need not contribute to Socso.
Instead, the onus has been set upon the riders/employees themselves to register for the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (SESSS).
Unfortunately, the take up for the self-contribution option is very low, with only 18% registering when the option was presented in 2018.
For all intent and purposes, e-hailing and p-hailing riders are employees of registered delivery companies (such as Grab, FoodPanda, Lalamove, etc) which are ever increasing and even thriving in some instances due to rising demand for services, especially during this pandemic.
And these companies should bear the cost of protecting their employees as required of all other employers in the country, especially when this particular job is risky.
During the movement control period (MCO) period between March 18 and November 18 last year, motorcycles contributed the highest number of vehicles involved in fatal accidents.
Some 12 of such fatalities involved p-hailing riders, followed by five who were badly injured and 48 others who suffered light injuries. In fact, 150 accidents and four deaths involving p-hailing riders were recorded during the first three months of MCO alone!
Although the concept of gig-economy began as an option for supplementary income or part-time employment, no doubt today there are riders who are now doing this full-time out of necessity.
Regardless, these people are putting their lives at risk every day to serve the people and sustain the economy.
If foreign workers can be covered under Socso, why can’t the Human Resources Ministry (MOHR) look into developing a better social protection mechanism for our own?
I strongly urge the MOHR and the Government to look into the significant roles of these e-hailing/p-hailing riders and make it mandatory for e-hailing and p-hailing companies to contribute to Socso for their riders. – March 4, 2021
Rajiv Rishyakaran is the state assemblyman for Bukit Gasing in Selangor.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.