PETALING JAYA: An economist has urged the government to formulate a plan to improve the livelihood of unskilled Bumiputera workers.
When tabling the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) mid-term review at the Dewan Rakyat last week, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said that a Bumiputera economic congress set for next January will help set a new direction and approach for Bumiputeras that is more fair, equitable and inclusive.
Barjoyai Bardai of Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (Unitar) said 70% of the country’s 16.5 million workforce are unskilled workers who earn less than RM2,500.
He suggested that the government hold engagement sessions with Bumiputera scholars, corporate figures and entrepreneurs to gather feedback to be presented at the congress to address the issue.
“There are still many who are considered unskilled workers, who have low productivity and low income,” he told FMT.
“The question is, how do we uplift them and pull them out of this middle-class trap?”
Meanwhile, Ahmed Razman Abdul Latiff of Putra Business School also hoped the Bumiputera economic congress would discuss policies that could alleviate poverty, boost income, and improve the quality of life among Bumiputera workers.
The economist said that weaknesses in previous Bumiputera policies meant they failed to achieve their desired outcome.
“The previous policies focused more on creating large-scale Bumiputera companies and wealthy individuals,” he said.
“In theory, those Malay tycoons were (expected) to help their Malay friends or the community.
“However, that strategy did not work, and they even asked for government assistance when they faced problems (in their business).”