RM500 for jobless grads is great but pointless to give it to EPF, says MTUC man

GEORGE TOWN: Penang MTUC secretary K Veeriah said the government’s plans to incentivise unemployed graduates by crediting RM500 directly into the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) is not a good idea.

He said any sort of cash aid or incentive should be paid directly to workers.

MTUC’s K Veeriah

“These incentives should not be put in the retirement fund. It should be used to offset the cost of living and the purchase of necessities.

“You cannot tell people to wait until they are 60 unless the EPF opens up a bank account where you can withdraw monthly,” he said.

Veeriah also asked if the government wants to pay the RM300 portion, as an incentive for companies to hire graduates, through the EPF as well.

In the 2020 Budget, the government announced an incentive of RM500 a month for two years as aid to graduates who are out of a job for more than a year. This is to help them re-enter the work force. Employers that take them will get RM300 a month, also for two years.

The same amount is also offered to women, aged between 30 and 50, who have been out of a job for a year.

He also said the RM1,200 minimum wage (an increase of RM100 over the present amount) for those working in “major cities” was an idea that was not well thought out.

Veeriah gave an example of a wage-earner who lived in rural Kulim, but worked in an urban industrial zone in Penang.

“Rental of homes in Kulim is cheap, but this person travels to Penang to work.

“The question that needs to be asked is, has the government dumped the national minimum wage model for a sectoral wage one?

“What basis, what studies and what consideration were made when making this decision?”