MAY 01, 2020

“Next Normal for Jobs” Parliamentary Roundtable #1

Our Executive Director, Tan E Hun joined the discussion as a panelist on Friday 1 May 2020. 

Organised by Institut Darul Ehsan, the roundtable was convened by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, MP for Port Dickson and moderated by YB Fahmi Fadzil, MP for Lembah Pantai. Other panelists include economist Hafiz Noor Shams and Dr. Nungsari Ahmad Radhi. 

E Hun highlighted the importance of putting jobs creation back at the centre of national economic policymaking. She stressed that key indicators such as unemployment rates and GDP growth forecasts are lagging indicators. She commented that stimulus packages provided thus far by governments are in the right direction as it subsidises household income and retains jobs through various instruments. Nevertheless, more needs to be done, e.g. current wage subsidies provided is not sufficient. 

E Hun pointed to the asymmetric impact on workers and jobs, blue collars, gig economy workers and women workers are those being hit hard. Informal workers is an “unknown” group as we can’t identify them. There is a heighten economic insecurity among the M40s too as they can be tipped over to B40 instantly in these economic situation.

E Hun proposed some long term policy considerations to “build back better” our economy and society. 

It is key to seek ways to create higher paying jobs by increasing productivity through automation and technology. But government has a key role to play in creating good, sustainable, future-looking jobs in sun-rise industries and growth sectors. She suggested a “mission oriented” concept (first introduce by economist Prof. Mariana Mazzucato) where the state takes on big investments and initiative that benefits societal goals, and coordinate and stimulate partnership with the private sector. Industries such as less resource-intensive farming methods, medical supplies and equipments production, renewable energy sectors, can benefit from huge government investment. 

There is also a need to create a resilient national economy, through embracing more jobs focused on local economic development and keep many small businesses running to get the economy going. The government should act as a provider of welfare and job creator to stimulate demand, and rely less on global supply chains to provide us with the essentials we require. Sectors such as the care economy (both elderly and childcare), healthcare providers and food supply chains should also be emphasised.

E Hun also proposed to look into giving legal statute to gig workers and informal workers so they don’t fall in between the cracks, and allow them to benefit from social security and boarded the tax based, hence recognising their contribution to the economy. 

Overall, she concluded that government policy have a big role to play in determining what kind of jobs are likely to be created. Creating good jobs mean investing in the creation of facilitation of industries that are likely to create those jobs. 

See full video above.

Media Coverage: 

Malay Mail, read here.

Malay Mail, read here.

Selangorkini, read here.

MSN News, read here.

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