The state’s former Youth, Sports, Entrepreneurship Development and Cooperatives Exco and Paloh Assemblyman, Shaikh Umar Bagharib Ali calls for the government to look into youth unemployment issue that rose during the pandemic lockdown. Citing the statistics from the Department of Statistics Malaysia where 12.9% of youths from 15 to 24 years old are jobless and 9% of youth aged 15 to 30 years old are unemployed, making the percentage 5% higher than the average unemployment.
“Youth unemployment is in a worrying state; the next generation that holds the country’s future has no opportunity to gain experience to make a living or to be ready to lead the country,” he said in his press statement.
The factors include job mismatch. According to Malaysia’s Labour Market and Job Creation Report under the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP) 2011-2015, it has found that despite rising employment levels, employment opportunities within the country’s economic framework remains focused on low and medium-skilled jobs.
Statistics from the Department of Statistics Malaysia and the estimates by Bank Negara Malaysia in 2015 shows that the workforce for Higher Education level is 51.2% while the job skills level involved in Higher Skilled Jobs is only at 20.2%. The disparity in the figures shows that there has been a series of other issues that have plunged the youth into unemployment such as salaries that are not in line with the positions applied for, lack of skills among new employees, lack of training programmes that are truly effective to meet the needs of the industry and so on.
Shaikh Umar has extended his suggestions to curb the problem, by increasing the quality of education as well as academic restructuring that takes into account the emphasis in the field of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to meet the needs of the industry that will contribute to the country’s development.
Communication and collaboration between education and training should be intensified at community development, especially involving the youth.
Efforts to identify and address the root causes of youth unemployment should be Malaysia’s top agenda. While it is not an easy task, it is not impossible to accomplish.