WHILE Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz’s plan to create 500,000 jobs is laudable, the initiative would fail without having concrete policies to back it up.
“Without solid policies as backbone to support the plan, it will become a political gimmick. Tengku Zafrul seems to lack basic understanding of people-centric economy and job creation,” said Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member Sharan Raj, in a statement.
Two days ago, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said that the National Employment Council would be creating 500,000 jobs, with the support of 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 was reported saying.
However, Kepong MP Lim Lip Eng and Sharan had questioned the plan, adding it did not provide details on what sort of jobs the Government is planning to create and how to go about it.
Earlier today, Parliamentary Select Committee for International Relations and Trade chairman Wong Chen told FocusM that investors’ confidence over Malaysia was low due to the Government’s flip-flops and Emergency proclamation, adding it would undermine efforts to revitalise the economy and create jobs.
Schooling Tengku Zafrul on basic economics, Sharan said that jobs are usually created when production of goods and services are increased to match rising consumption.
“And that is where the Government should focus, raising domestic consumption,” he said.
However, due to the economic downturn triggered by COVID-19, Sharan said many people are unable to even spend for basic necessity as they have lost jobs or had their remuneration slashed.
Put money in people’s pockets
He added that the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) have estimated that half of 1.36 million informal workers in Malaysia, such as dishwashers, private tour guides, individual tour bus drivers, childcare givers and rickshaw cyclists are in dire economic misery.
“The loss of household income for 15% of Malaysian population had depressed consumer spending. While the Top20 (T20) continues to buy new cars but the Bottom40 (B40) can’t even afford a bag of rice,” Sharan stated.
To resolve the matter, the PSM leader urged the Government to introduce the Modified Universal Basic Income (MUBI), providing monthly cash aid to no-income household and single mothers to purchase basic necessities, revitalising domestic consumption.
“With increase in demand for goods and services, the private sector will ramp up production and increase employment to meet rising consumption.
“This will halt decline in consumption of basic necessity amongst B40 and allow new jobs to be created,” Sharan said.
On that note, he also urged the Government to reduce incentives and subsidies given to the private sector and redirect it to the people’s pockets instead to boost the economy.
“The Government had pumped hundreds of billions in incentives, tax rebates, wage subsidies and credit line for private sector over the years. However, those working in both formal and informal sector continue to lose their jobs or income due to declining private consumption.
“Besides, the private sectors are not really deprived of capital because most businesses had accumulated profits for decades before the recession. So, the Government can cut back to some extent,” Sharan remarked. – March 9, 2021.