SINGAPORE: The Malaysian economy is about to feel the full impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the country’s top statistician.
After posting its slowest growth since the global financial crisis, the economy is set to slip into a recession in the next four to six months, according to a report by Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the chief statistician.
With its borders shut to foreigners and a standstill in commerce around the world, industries including tourism and aviation have been crippled, adding uncertainty to a rebound in trade in the first quarter.
The expected decline comes as the country’s gross domestic product grew marginally at 0.7% in the first three months of the year, the lowest since the third quarter of 2009, he said.
That growth rate is significantly less than the 3.9% to 4.2% expansion expected, with losses of RM22.8 billion (US$5.3 billion) in economic output because of a countrywide lockdown, he said.
Countries across the world began the “Great Lockdown” in March.
“From the early indications in April and May 2020, the economic environment is foreseen to be unfavourable for Malaysian businesses,” according to the report, entitled the Malaysian Economic Statistics Review.
With the global lockdown, “this unprecedented situation has caused a sharp contraction to the economy like never before.”
Comment: Is your job secured in this coming recession? This time around, things are a bit different. Even traditionally recession-proof career like early childhood educator might be at risk, due to the lockdown. Otherwise, it is relatively recession-proof. You should consider either upskilling or reskilling if your current skills are going to be less relevant or totally obsolete post-MCO/CMCO.
Among the skills that I highly recommend is to brush up your digital marketing skills as digitalisation is a must in the new norm. And if you really hate to deal with screen and IT-related kinds of stuff, here are some other options:
– Accounting course if you love numbers – Industrial automation if you like robotics & machinery (great prospect especially in the glove manufacturing industry during this pandemic) Baking & Culinary if you like baking & cooking (Just like early childhood industry, F&B industry may look bleak in this year or until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found).
There are many other TVET courses that lead to jobs/careers that are not only recession-proof but also in high demand.
So, what is your interest? What course would you like to study? If you’re unsure or know what you want to study but don’t know where, just state your interest here.
KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 13): Malaysians should capitalise on new collar job opportunities to earn higher salaries and improve their long-term prospects.
In an interview with Bernama recently, Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran said new collar vocations have great potential in terms of income and future prospects.
“Take plumbing as an example. We tend to view it as a low-class job but these days, we have to make an appointment with them (in case a plumber’s services is needed). This is because plumbing is a very specialised field.
“And recently, I met a journalist who is in his 30s and who is taking up a part-time course to become a chargeman due to his interest in that field. He would work during the day and study at night. He told me he could earn more as a chargeman,” he related.
In an article titled New-Collar Workers — Who are They and How are They Contributing to Our Labor Shortage? in the January 2019 edition of Forbes magazine, the writer Scholley Bubenik defined new collar worker as an “individual who develops the technical and soft skills needed to work in technology jobs through non-traditional education paths”.
New collar workers, wrote Bubenik, do not have a four-year degree from a college. “Instead, the new collar worker is trained through community colleges, vocational schools, software boot camps, technical certification programs, high school technical education and on-the-job apprentices and internships.”
Malaysia is currently focusing on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) programmes to equip its human capital with the necessary technical and vocational skills. It is imperative that Malaysia increases its skilled workforce because it is projected that 60% of jobs created under the 11th Malaysia Plan (2016-2020) will require human capital with technical and vocational skills.
Currently, Malaysia’s skilled workforce stands at 28%, whereas advanced nations like Germany’s has reached 51%.
Under the Shared Prosperity Vision (SPV) 2030 launched by the government last October, the nation hopes to raise its skilled workforce to 35% in 10 years.
Kula Segaran said: “We must take note of what the ILO (International Labour Organisation) has said… it said 15 years from now, there is a great possibility that 15% to 30% of courses currently offered by universities may not be needed in the employment sector.
“However, the interesting thing is that the ILO has guaranteed that TVET courses will (continue) to remain relevant.”
The minister also reiterated the importance of skilling, upskilling, reskilling and cross-skilling, pointing out that today’s job landscape allowed employees to enhance their value by acquiring skills, improving their existing skills, learning new skills and mastering skills across fields.
He said the four processes would be among the areas of focus under SPV 2030 and it is expected to benefit some 15 million workers who wish to add value to their employability.
According to Kula Segaran, 96% of students graduating from skills training institutes are offered jobs soon after completing their studies. In fact, they often get multiple job offers.
Workers who go for further training to improve their skills are also highly employable and face better mobility in the job market.
The minister also urged Malaysians wishing to pursue TVET courses to treat the Manpower Department’s Industrial Training Institutes (ILP) as their institute of choice.
“These institutes are not only located in Kuala Lumpur but also in other towns such as Kota Bharu, Kuala Terengganu, Skudai, Ipoh, Taiping, Penang, Tawau and Sandakan. What is more, these areas have their own industrial networks,” he said, adding that the ILP students are fully sponsored by the government and are even given hostel facilities.
However, he added, despite the facilities provided, the institutes are not filled to capacity, with only 70% to 80% of the seats for its various TVET courses taken up.
Kula Segaran said he has instructed the institutes to operate until 11pm to enable working people to attend courses after work. The ministry is also busy promoting the institutes through the media, roadshows and collaborations with non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Its efforts have borne fruit as enrolments rose to 18,000 in 2019 from about 16,000 in 2016.
“We hope the enrolment for this year will go up to 20,000,” he said, adding that the authorities were in discussions with Genting Malaysia Bhd, which requires more than 1,000 technical staff, to hire ILP trainees.
“The pay is good, the work is enjoyable and the weather is cool over there.”
TVET FOR ORANG ASLI
Kula Segaran also said his ministry is helping students from Orang Asli communities to enrol at the Industrial Training Institutes. In 2018, eight Orang Asli from settlements in Cameron Highlands, Tapah and Gerik were enrolled in the ILP in Ipoh, Perak. Presently, 17 Orang Asli students are undergoing training at the institute.
“Just recently I was told that there have been requests from Orang Asli to enrol in TVET centres in Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor. They can enrol in any TVET centre and not necessarily in ILP. Selangor, for instance, has many centres that provide training in vocational and technical courses,” he said.
They are given the option to pursue a course in welding, hairdressing, beauty treatments, mechatronics, electronics, electrical wiring or electrical chargeman.
“I hope in future hundreds of Orang Asli will get to acquire skills at the various ILP located nationwide. It will help to improve the socio-economic status of their families,” he added.
Kula Segaran also said that every Tuesday, his ministry would have an open day to meet clients and stakeholders who needed their advisory services.
Every Tuesday, officials from departments and agencies under the Human Resources Ministry and relevant NGOs would be present at the lobby at the ministry’s building in Putrajaya to offer their services.
In fact, the minister himself makes it a point to be present to meet the people who require the services of his ministry.
“We’re trying to make it more convenient for the people. I think it’s important that we not only help people who have issues with our ministry but also other ministries because their problems could be interlinked with others.
“For example, someone has an issue concerning the hiring of foreign workers… this doesn’t involve my ministry alone but also KDN (Ministry of Home Affairs) because the approval comes from KDN. So it (the open day) is a one-stop centre kind of thing and people come from all around the country to see us. It’s challenging but there is a happy ending when we make it fruitful for them,” he added.
After the recent announcement of Malaysia’s Budget 2020, Dato’ Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin, Chairman, Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) has thanked the Federal Government for the budget allocation of RM50 million to the Fund.
“This allocation will empower the Fund to continue its mandate to catalyse the development of a competent local workforce, contributing to the Government’s aspiration to drive growth and equitable outcomes towards shared prosperity,” she said.
She has provided details on how HRDF plans to fulfil this mandate. “With an allocated budget of RM30 million for TVET, the Fund aims to reduce the country’s unemployment rate which currently stands at 3.3%.”
As such, HRDF will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Human Resources, industry players and employers to provide TVET training programmes catered to employ 3,000 youths from low-income households.
The targeted B40 youths will be trained in courses with fast employability rate such as escalator and elevator service and maintenance; housekeeping operation; retail operation; commercial driver training and certification programme; and professional certificate in logistics and supply chain operations.
The Fund will also match the Government’s allocation of RM20 million with an additional RM20 million towards upskilling a further 4,000 Malaysians through professional certification examinations related to IR4.0.
These certifications are aligned to the main pillars of IR4.0, such as internet of things; cybersecurity; big data; and cloud computing. For these, the Fund will collaborate with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).
She added: “With the 2020 budget allocation by the Government to the Fund, it will continue its role in supporting the nation’s human capital development towards reducing skills and economic gaps; promote the employability and mobility of Malaysian talent; and encourage job creation and inclusivity for prosperity.”
PETALING JAYA: The Youth and Sports Ministry is committed to create a new generation of quality graduates with its National Youth Skills Institute’s (IKBN) Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) module.
Its Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (pic) said the blueprint, dubbed IR4.0 TVET-IKBN, would be adapted for IKBN undergraduates based on the Teaching Factory module from Germany.
He was commenting on media reports quoting Bank Negara’s 2018 annual report, which found that monthly salaries for diploma or degree holders had dipped since 2010. The study also found that fewer people were being hired for high-skilled jobs.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (March 28), Syed Saddiq outlined the scenario he hoped would materialise with the IR4.0 TVET-IKBN blueprint in place.
“Imagine, 94% of the IKBN graduates being offered job opportunities after graduating.
“Upskilling and reskilling are the recipe for graduates today. Through the TVET programme, graduates will be matched with Industry 4.0 needs,” he said.
Noting that there are 22 TVET institutes nationwide, Syed Saddiq said that the ministry would get more industries involved with TVET programmes.
“The ministry has managed to sign 41 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the Federal level and 192 MOUs at Youth and Sports Skills Training Institute (ILKBS) level, which is part of the TVET module,” he said, adding that Petronas, Gamuda Berhad and Proton are among those involved.
Syed Saddiq also wrote that the ministry, through TVET, had carried out a ‘bootcamp’ programme for the graduates, where 465 job offers from over 15 companies were provided to these graduates.
“The issue is close to my heart, and the ministry is committed to creating quality graduates,” he added.
He also called on the various industry players to collaborate and help the youth be part of the high-impact industry.
Comment: If you’re looking beyond government skills training institutes, willing to explore the private ones, express your interest here
LUMPUR: The setting up of a special commission on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) will rationalise and optimise funding and resources to minimise duplication of programmes among TVET institutions.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) President Datuk Soh Thian Lai said the federation supported the formation of a single agency to coordinate the implementation of TVET in country and the TVET Empowerment Committee’s recommendation was an appropriate decision.
He said the government should expedite the establishment of the special commission to address fragmentation of TVET implementation, which currently cuts across seven ministries.
“The single champion agency should ensure standardisation of training and qualifications, quality assurance, qualification portability, recognition of prior learning, and greater cost effectiveness in the use of resources
“The funding of TVET institutions must be based on performance and aligned to market demand to mandate collaboration with the industry,” Soh said in a statement today.
The FMM president said it was also necessary to upskill and reskill the current workforce, and reinforce lifelong learning to continually acquire new and emerging skills required by new technologies such as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“TVET training institutions need to be able to offer upskilling and reskilling programmes in order to produce highly-skilled and digital-proficient workers to support the industrial transformation of the economy,” he said.
Loh said the commission should also uplift the status of TVET graduates as skilled craftsmen and promote TVET as a viable education and career of choice to students and parents.
“TVET should be introduced into the school curriculum as early as the primary level to nurture interest and uplift the status of technical and vocational qualifications as vital in strengthening the supply of skills and ensuring a competent workforce,” he added.