High jobless rate for youth ‘fertile ground’ for discontent, Dr M warns

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the high youth unemployment rate could lead to discontent and instability. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad sounded the alarm today over the country’s youth unemployment rate, warning that it could create “fertile ground” for discontent and instability citing the examples of Hong Kong, Beirut and Santiago.

Speaking at the Employees Provident Fund Social Wellbeing 2019 international conference here today, he said this should not be allowed to happen.

“We see how economically frustrated youths can bring about conflict and unrest, worsening the already precarious and unstable economic conditions,” he added.

He added that the investments the government had made in the education of these youth would go to waste if they remained unemployed as they would be unable to contribute to the country.

He also stressed the importance of shared prosperity as Malaysia strives to become a developed nation.

“To do this, we must spend time assisting those in vulnerable groups, especially our younger generation, to secure quality, dignified employment,” he said.

“It will take a Malaysian solution, and a Malaysian team, to solve this Malaysian problem.”

He also spoke of the volatile market environment, saying life will only become more challenging as technology becomes cheaper.

“Automation will lower production costs, many job functions will be disrupted, some jobs will become irrelevant and some workers made redundant.”

He warned as well that the pressures of living would increase, especially for those in the low-income bracket and vulnerable groups like youth, women and 3D workers.

Putrajaya recently announced the [email protected] initiative to tackle unemployment in the country.

It is divided into four programmes directed at providing wage incentives to workers and hiring incentives for employers.