BY WILFRED MADIUS TANGAU
COMMENT: The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) recorded 728,100 unemployed individuals in Malaysia in May 2021 in which unemployed youths was recorded to be 328,100 people.
Unemployment is on the rise with limitations caused by the Covid-19 pandemic which imposes strict movement restrictions and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).
In this situation, 580,000 businesses in Malaysia, comprising 49% of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, are at risk of closure by October 2021.
One of the underlying causes of unemployment is the Malaysian education system which prioritises academic achievements as opposed to ensuring that career-ready students.
Instead of fully utilising the Malaysian labour force for work demands, Malaysia has a higher dependence on foreign workers to take on and execute low-skilled jobs which decreases opportunities for youths with no tertiary education.
Although the number of Malaysian fresh graduates has increased to 300,000 to 350,000 individuals, high-skilled jobs are lacking with many job applications rejected for being overly qualified.
The Federal Government must restructure the education system to ensure that youths will be capable of providing for their own livelihoods.
In addition, the Federal Government must identify job sectors in Malaysia which needs more labour force and encourage students to take these career routes so as to meet the demands of what is needed to develop Malaysia.
By giving scholarships according to relevant sectors which is needed in Malaysia, we can fill up employment gaps while avoiding the redundancy of graduates in the work system, such as currently faced by education graduates and medical graduates.
Reformation in education and work placement is key to avoiding labour supply gaps and increasing unemployment and it is the duty of the Malaysian Government to protect the futures of our nation.
* Wilfred Madius Tangau, PRESIDENT Of Upko is also Executive Chairperson WISDOM Foundation