Malaysia enjoys full employment, country can attain high-income status in 2 years: Mahathir

Malaysia enjoys full employment, country can attain high-income status in 2 years: Mahathir

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Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. (File photo: Bernama)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is expected to attain high-income status by 2021, projected Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Jul 11), after saying that the country currently enjoys full employment.

He said in parliament that the unemployment rate in Malaysia stood at 3.3 per cent last year and this was effectively full employment.

“According to the definition given by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (in) 1999, countries with unemployment rates below four per cent are categorised as having full employment,” Dr Mahathir explained.

In a bid to help the people, the government had undertaken various initiatives, such as creating recruitment portal JobsMalaysia, which had helped 3,890 local job seekers secure jobs between January and March this year, he noted.

“The government will, from time to time, continue improving the existing initiatives and creating more programmes and mechanisms to help the people secure jobs and to reduce the unemployment rate in the country.”

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Speaking at a separate event to launch a new national entrepreneurship policy, Dr Mahathir cited an International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, which said Malaysia can become a high-income nation within two years.

"Based on current assessment, Malaysia will be able to achieve a high-income economy by 2021 or 2022," he was quoted as saying by the Star.

He noted that the IMF's latest World Economic Outlook 2019 report revealed a positive outlook for Malaysia and the per capita income was expected to increase.

On Wednesday, the prime minister declared that Malaysia is no longer under pressure from financial problems as the national debt issue has been handled prudently. He said it may take between 10 and 15 years for Malaysia “to recover to being an Asian Tiger”.

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On Thursday, Dr Mahathir also said that based on the Labour Force Survey Report by the Department of Statistics, the youth unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in 2018.

“Among the factors identified to have contributed to youth unemployment in Malaysia were inadequate skills, qualifications and work experience, as well as unmatched skill sets,” he said.

He urged Malaysian youths to improve their personal qualities and attitudes to help them meet the characteristics employers are looking for.

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Dr Mahathir also pointed out that unemployment among youths aged between 15 and 24 was a common phenomenon faced by many developing and developed countries in the world, including Malaysia.

He said this was because those in that age group were said to be in the process of transition from the learning environment to the realities of the job market.

Source: Bernama/CNA/aw(hm)