Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the expansion of the Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Bhd (PSMB) Act which will take effect on Saturday. Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) chief executive Datuk C.M. Vignaesvaran (pic) said to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology and expanding job functions, the local labour force has to be regularly trained and equipped with the required skills sets. “While large companies with deeper pockets might find it easier to do these, it may not be the case for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).” He believed that SMEs’ contribution to the economy could be strengthened with better access to training.

The Act will streamline its eligibility criteria to Malaysian employers across 19 new sub-sectors within the manufacturing, services, and mining and quarrying sectors that employ a minimum of 10 local employees.  These included the food and beverage and hypermarket, supermarket and department store sub-sectors. Companies from these sub-sectors with five to nine local employees may voluntarily register with HRDF.

The expanded Act will enable more SMEs to come under the umbrella of HRDF in order for the agency to effectively help small businesses with their training needs. Governed by the PSMB Act 2001, HRDF has evolved from its initial role as a fund manager for its sizeable training fund into a one-stop centre to provide innovative human resource development solutions to the critical mass of Malaysian SMEs. The expansion is expected to increase the number of employees eligible for training under HRDF from the current 1.77 million to 2.8 million by year 2020, a rise of 58%. This is a crucial step towards the overall development of Malaysia’s human capital by increasing the number of skilled local workers from the current 31% to 35% by 2020 as outlined in the Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020).
Some 14,000 of the 18,000 companies registered with HRDF are SMEs, but Datuk Vignaesvaran stressed that this was only a small fraction of the over 400,000 SMEs established in Malaysia. “When we have a global economic problem, countries with higher SME contribution are stronger,” Datuk Vignaesvaran pointed out. “For Malaysia, it is still low. The only way to push for a higher SME contribution is through training. “Currently, almost 65% of Malaysians don’t have access to a structured training budget. “Most of the time, they will take out the cost of training from their own money or they don’t train at all.

HRDF will also look into the next phase of the expansion of the PSMB Act, which Datuk Vignaesvaran said was aimed at encouraging all employers to register with the HRDF. This may be rolled out next year. Over the years, Datuk Vignaesvaran said HRDF found that companies that were registered with the agency saw a significant improvement in their productivity, thanks to the various certification and development programmes approved by the fund. These programmes corresponded with the advancement of technology, system and processes as well as supported the agenda of the nation to enhance the country’s economic development, he added.

Source: The Star