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Weekly SME News Highlights (Apr 26 – May 3)

Welcome to MISHU’s News Highlights, where we share bite-sized pieces of news relevant to SME owners in Malaysia. We understand how time-consuming it can be to run a business, so we’ve extracted relevant details to get you updated at a glance.

1. Call for 20% employers’ EPF contribution to be discussed

Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has announced that the Cabinet will discuss calls for employers to contribute 20% to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF). Currently, employees contribute 11% of their monthly salary, while employers contribute an additional 12-13%. The proposal comes as part of Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre’s 12-point request (which is the next item on our list!).

2. Unions want updated labour policies

The Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (Uni-MLC) has called for the development of a new labour policy to address key issues facing workers in the post-Covid-19 era.

Uni-MLC’s president, Datuk Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal, urged the Human Resources Ministry to hold dialogues with stakeholders and review current labor laws. Among the recommendations are

  • raising employers’ EPF contribution from 13% to 20% for employees <RM4,000
  • revising the mandatory retirement age of 60
  • extending the Employment Act 1955 to Sabah and Sarawak workers
  • reviewing low pension payments
  • establishing more childcare centers at workplaces
  • support for Malaysian film industry workers
  • prioritizing local workers over foreign labor

3. SMEs struggle to find skilled workers despite rising unemployment

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia are struggling to find skilled workers, according to the Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta). 

Its chairman, Datuk William Ng, has called on authorities to form a Future of Work Taskforce to address this issue, along with rising underemployment rates, highlighting that current policies are outdated. 

The rise in digital technology is disrupting the labour market and changing the nature of work. Ng advocates for a taskforce led by industry experts, including representatives from government agencies, industry players, and SMEs, to address these challenges urgently.

If Datuk Ng’s statements ring true for you, do get in touch with our HR experts, who can guide you on current best hiring and training practices.

4. Keep those passwords secure!

Malaysia has seen a 197% year-on-year increase in web threats targeting businesses in 2022, making it the second-highest Southeast Asian country experiencing this surge, according to Kaspersky data. Singapore recorded the highest year-on-year increase, with a 329% jump in cyber attacks on businesses.

A friendly reminder to businesses out there that generally, human error remains the biggest enabler of cyber attacks. Install all the precautions you need – just be sure to keep staff trained and alert.

4. Malaysians growing pre-loved appreciation

The secondhand shopping industry in Malaysia is experiencing a resurgence in popularity, with businesses reporting a gradual increase in sales. The pandemic has shifted consumer spending habits and accelerated gadget ownership and usage.

Marcus Tey Wan, who runs a business importing and supplying refurbished gadgets from China, said the pandemic has pushed gadget ownership and usage to a new high.

“During the lockdowns, all adults and children were cooped up indoors, and they could only rely on their smartphones, tablets, laptops or computers for work, study and entertainment.

And that’s it for this week! See you next Wednesday. If you have any questions about how the news above could affect your business specifically, we’re just a call away.

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