Highlights:

  1. Nurul Izzah quits as PKR vice president
  2. SME Corp. spent RM217.33 mln on tech- related programmes in 2018
  3. CIDB adds electrical courses to entrepreneurship scheme
  4. Malaysian halal exports to hit RM50 bln by 2020
  5. Workplace policies must not discriminate against employees with HIV
  6. Half of those who lost jobs this year from Klang Valley
  7. Committee to study proposal on foreign worker salary deduction

Nurul Izzah quits as PKR vice president
Nurul Izzah Anwar has resigned as vice president of PKR and relinquished her appointment as the chair of Penang PKR. The Permatang Pauh MP said that she would remain a member of the parliamentary backbench committed to reforms. “My only regret is that I should have made this announcement sooner, but it has not been an easy decision to arrive at. “The pace of political developments has been relentless for the last nine months, with party elections following a gruelling general election campaign,” she said in a statement today. In Cyberjaya, Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was unaware why Nurul Izzah has quit as PKR vice-president. “She must have her reasons for doing so,” he said when asked on the latest development in the Pakatan Harapan coalition.

SME Corp. spent RM217.33 mln on tech- related programmes in 2018
SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) spent RM217.33 million to implement 28 innovation and technology- related programmes in 2018, benefiting 37,429 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Its Chief Executive Officer Noor Azmi Mat Said said the programmes were under the Innovation and Technology Adoption initiative outlined in SME Corp’s annual SME Integrated Plan of Action (SMEIPA) report. “Based on our SMEIPA report for 2018, 151 SME development programmes were planned and 613,576 SMEs are expected to have benefited from it, he said.

CIDB adds electrical courses to entrepreneurship scheme
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) will add electrical skills courses to its entrepreneurship training programme under the Construction Academy of Malaysia (ABM). Chief Executive Officer Datuk Ir Ahmad ’Asri Abdul Hamid said the pioneer programme, which began with air conditioning skills courses at ABM’s southern region in June, has two groups of four trainees each with the potential to become successful entrepreneurs. “CIDB is expected to allocate RM400,000 to this programme next year with the aim of producing at least 16 more trainees.

HDC expects Malaysian halal exports to hit RM50 bln by 2020
The Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) expects Malaysia’s export of halal products to grow to RM50 billion by 2020, driven by new demand from international markets. HDC Vice-President of Industry Development Hanisofian Alias said this growth was possible due to the increasing Muslim population globally and more non-Muslims embracing halal products as part of a healthy and hygienic lifestyle. “Our halal exports stood at RM43 billion in 2017 and I am confident that we will be able to hit the RM50 billion mark by the end of 2020.”

Workplace policies must not discriminate against employees with HIV
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad wants employers to put into place sound workplace policies that do not stigmatise and discriminate employees who are infected by HIV. He said statistics have shown that up to 89% of people with HIV in the country are those who are in the prime of their lives and make up a key part of the working population. He explained that HIV has a direct impact on businesses and it is crucial for the country to invest in a policy that will provide support for those infected and affected by HIV at the workplace. “HIV discrimination is unlawful and should not be tolerated in this day and age,” he said. “In recent weeks, several Cabinet members too have stressed on the importance of having a regulation to stop discrimination of HIV-positive employees,” added Tun Dr Mahathir.

50% of workers retrenched this year from the Klang Valley
Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran said about half of those who lost their jobs this year were workers within the Klang Valley. He cited changes in industries and the fast pace of the employment market as among the main contributors to 5,902 or 27.4% of workers in Selangor and 4,767 or 22.1% in Kuala Lumpur losing their jobs. “The numbers are followed by Johor (11.8%) and Penang (6.2%). He added that from 1 January to 7 December this year, 21,532 people lost their jobs nationwide. “A significant number, 7,755 workers who lost their jobs are those from the top three high paying jobs namely managers, professionals and technicians besides associate professionals that require diplomas and degrees for entry qualification.

On foreign workers, Kulasegaran said the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) has formed a technical committee to study a proposal on deducting 20 per cent of foreign workers’ basic salaries and setting the money aside as a savings scheme. He said that the committee will revert to the ministry with its conclusion on 29 January 2019. “The committee will scrutinise the proposal and its mechanism. We are looking at the proposal holistically,” he told reporters in Putrajaya.