Budget 2024: Emphasis on workforce upskilling will attract investors, create jobs

20 Oct 2023 12:08pm
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX
Image for illustrative purposes only. - FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - The government’s emphasis on upskilling the local workforce through numerous allocations in the Budget 2024 could prove to be a pulling factor for investors and, in turn, create more job opportunities in the country, experts said.

Sabah Economic Advisory Council member Prof Datuk Kasim Mansur opined the budget tabled on Oct 13, which included the allocation of RM6.8 billion for the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) sector and RM1.6 billion for the Human Resources Development Corporation (HRD Corp) to train 1.7 million workers, will create a business-friendly economic ecosystem with an abundance of highly skilled workers.

"This also signals Malaysia’s readiness to become a conducive investment hub for industries, especially for major investors. Not only do we have a skilled workforce, but the cost of doing business in Malaysia is also not that high.

"The impact of this investment cannot be seen in the short term but only in the next three to four years. However, during this period, many job opportunities based on TVET will be created and this will attract foreign investors to come to Malaysia,” he told Bernama.

He added that creating a business-friendly ecosystem is also considered a strategic move, given Malaysia’s moderate Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth outlook of around four per cent for next year.

Kasim, who is also Universiti Malaysia Sabah vice-chancellor, said the allocation of RM1.5 billion to encourage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) start-ups to venture into High-Growth, High-Value (HGHV) sectors such as digital economy and aerospace technology could stimulate the local economy and produce entrepreneurs who can further create job opportunities.

"In this budget, the government allocates a large amount to empower SMEs. Not only in terms of financial allocation, but the initiatives given also have the potential to make SMEs more competitive, viable and sustainable.

"My only concern is that SMEs in rural areas should not miss out on the allocations being provided,” he said.

Related Articles:

Meanwhile, Coursera’s managing director of Asia Pacific, Raghav Gupta, said the emphasis on education, skills, entrepreneurship, and research and development activities are crucial building blocks to transform Malaysia into a digital-driven, high-income economy and bolster its regional dominance.

He said the RM95 billion investment target under the New Industrial Master Plan 2030 is expected to generate millions of jobs and improve economic stability for Malaysians.

"Allocations towards TVET education, skills development, and training initiatives, including the RM1.6 billion for HRD Corp and RM70 million for the Academy in Industry programme, affirm the necessity to enhance the skills of the workforce perpetually,” he said in a statement.

Gupta said all in all, the Budget 2024 lays the groundwork for a modern skill development ecosystem, fostering collaboration between the government, educational institutions and industries. - BERNAMA