PETALING JAYA: Belanjawan 2023’s initiatives to create employment opportunities and provide job security for young Malaysians have been bearing fruit with the youth unemployment rate slowly decreasing, says a youth group.
The Perak chapter of the Malaysian Association of Youth Clubs (MAYC) said initiatives like the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) self-employed contribution matching initiative greatly benefitted gig workers, many of whom are youngsters.
Perak MAYC chairman Naim Al-Amin Saharudin said the digitisation grants for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were a major help for young entrepreneurs.
“The budget touches on some of the most important aspects for youths, such as job creation, skills improvement, training, and entrepreneur financing programmes,” he said.
“There are several initiatives that have been successful in helping the target group. We can see that the unemployment rate among those aged 15 to 30 has recorded an encouraging decrease thanks to the budget’s initiatives.”
Naim said Belanjawan 2023 was an important step towards ensuring a sustainable future for coming generations.
In February, the unemployment rate for youths aged 15 to 24 stood at 11.3%, with 320,800 jobless then. This improved slightly to 11.1% in April, with 315,600 in that age bracket still without a job.
Under Belanjawan 2023, government-linked companies (GLCs) will also offer 35,000 jobs for various segments of society, including youths.
Meanwhile, the government, through Socso, has allocated RM45 million in incentives for employers to hire 17,000 technical and vocational education and training (TVET) graduates.
Architects of Diversity, an NGO that works with secondary school students, said Putrajaya’s budget prioritised youths who were concerned about unemployment and job security.
Its communications manager, Neila Maryam Neil Bakry Marsoh, said the budget would help youths start and sustain their own businesses, enabling them to thrive as entrepreneurs.
“The postponement and discounts on the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) repayments also ease the burden on youths as they build their own futures and careers,” she said.
Monash University Malaysia economics professor Niaz Asadullah said Belanjawan 2023 was “youth-friendly”, with financial incentives, upskilling programmes and new provisions protecting youths from the high cost of living while promoting their marketability.
“Beyond improving access to education and salaried jobs, Belanjawan 2023 has also created better support for youths seeking self-employment.
“The relevant initiatives include specialised entrepreneurship training for B40 youths and microloan schemes to assist young micro and small-time entrepreneurs to start or expand their businesses.
“These initiatives could potentially form a comprehensive programme for youth development. If implemented well, they can go a long way in educationally and economically empowering our youths,” Niaz said.