The National Jobs Council to create 500,000 new jobs was a good move but these new jobs must be for the private sector.
Economists acknowledge sensitivity of Budget 2021 towards financially vulnerable groups
PETALING JAYA: The initiative under Budget 2021 to create jobs will go a long way towards helping to safeguard the interests of Malaysians, particularly those in the most vulnerable group.
One economist who spoke with theSun yesterday lauded the move, saying it will help address the unemployment problem.
The unemployment rate was 4.7% in August.
According to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, more than 800,000 people have already lost their jobs this year.
Another economist called for more incentives to be given to businesses to get them to invest in various sectors to help boost the job market.
Sunway University Business School professor of economics Dr Yeah Kim Leng said that getting the National Jobs Council to create 500,000 new jobs was a good move but these new jobs must be for the private sector.
“This is to prevent a bloated staff strength in government-linked companies (GLC) which cannot be sustained in the long run,” he said.
He urged the government to promote more productive investments that will generate sustainable jobs based on economic needs.
“We know for a fact that new investments help to generate jobs,” Yeah added.
He also proposed that financial assistance in the form of grants be given to Malaysians to start small scale businesses.
This will help those who have lost their jobs because of the Covid-19 pandemic get back on their feet, he said.
“With more people employed, it will also generate demand, which is good for the economy,” he added.
Yeah also expressed concern that while there is a lot of cash injection, people will be reluctant to spend during the lockdown and that, he said, is not favourable for the economy.
He said the government should also ensure that any measure taken to curb the spread of Covid-19 will have minimal negative impact on economic activity.
“Otherwise, it may impede our attempts to achieve the targeted growth.”
Economist Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam acknowledged that the government has provided a wide range of perks under Budget 2021 to help those who are in financial trouble.
“However, you must have the cash to give out and that can only come with an economic recovery and growth,” he told theSun.
He said the government could offer incentives to the private sector to encourage investment in education, property and transportation to create employment.
“Over and above that, an economic recovery will mean higher tax revenues that can be allocated to help the vulnerable groups,” said Ramon, who is chairman of the Centre for Public Policy Studies at the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute.
He suggested that there be a revision to relax conditions that inhibit growth in various sectors, including tourism.
“For that, you will have to modify some principles in the New Economic Policy,” he said.
“Let the private sector play a role. Let them bring the money and generate jobs, too.”
Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak agreed that the budget has been designed to help those in dire need.
“These are the people who have lost their jobs and their sources of income because of Covid-19,” he said.
However, he cautioned that the government could face cash constraints and this could lead to insufficient funds being allocated to selected sectors.
He expects the government to review conditions after three months and revise allocation to meet prevailing needs. / ALISHA NUR /09 NOV 2020 / 12:19 H.
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