Youth unemployment normal in developing countries, says Dr M

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says a lack of skills or education as well as lack of working experience contributes to the rate of youth unemployment in the country. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad told the Dewan Rakyat today that unemployment among the youth, especially those between 15 and 24, is a normal phenomenon in developing and even developed countries.

The prime minister said this is because the youth at that age are in a transitional phase between learning and the reality of the job market.

He said factors that lead to youth unemployment include a lack of skills or education as well as a lack of working experience.

“At the same time, employers expect them to be committed, hardworking, able to work under pressure, proactive and team players,” he said.

He was responding to Ma’Mun Sulaiman (Warisan-Kalabakan) who had asked about Putrajaya’s measures to reduce youth unemployment.

Mahathir said the government has implemented several initiatives, including setting up JobsMalaysia, a portal that allows youths to apply for suitable jobs.

It has also set up the Graduates Enhancement Programme for Employability to train unemployed graduates, and the Structured Internship Programme which helps expose undergraduates to the working world.

Mahathir earlier said that Malaysia’s employment rate is at “full employment”, based on statistics from 2018.

The unemployment rate last year stood at 3.3%.

“Based on the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s definition, any country that records unemployment of below 4% is categorised as ‘full employment’,” he said.