The prime minister said the programme has many long-term multiplier effects that go beyond the five years.
“It creates jobs, it creates learning opportunities, it creates relationships that require collaboration,” he said in his keynote address at the International Social Well-Being Conference 2019 and the launch of [email protected], here today.
Dr Mahathir said everyone has a part to play in overcoming the challenges caused by unemployment as it will fester and affect all levels of society if left unchecked.
“When a big proportion of our youth are unemployed, we lose their potential contribution to the country, waste the investment we have made in their education, and create a fertile ground for discontent and instability.
"It will take a Malaysian solution and a Malaysian team to solve this Malaysian problem. The #MalaysiaKerja or [email protected], is the Malaysian answer to resolving employment challenges in the marketplace," he said.
He said through this hiring incentive for employers, the government wanted to connect ready, willing and able talent to jobs with dignity as the country prepares its workforce for the future.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) has opened up so many opportunities in the technical and vocational sectors to encourage youths to become skilled in TVET fields through the [email protected] programme.
With so many jobs being displaced by new ways of doing things, the one segment of population that is most impacted are our fresh graduates, he said.
Dr Mahathir said [email protected] is important because youths will inherit the nation and their lives define the country’s future.
“We have [email protected], because women hold up half the sky — this is certainly the case in Malaysia. In every juncture of our history, women, who are primary caretakers of the family unit, have played an integral role in raising future Malaysians with strong values,” he said.
Finally he said, there is the [email protected] programme in which the government wants 3D workers to know that they hold Dignified, Dynamic and Desirable jobs.
“I truly admire the citizens of countries like Japan and Korea who have so much pride in the everyday work that they do. No job is too lowly and so they have very little dependence on foreign labour,” he said.
The prime minister said as Malaysia strives to become a developed nation, the country must ensure the prosperity it reaps will be shared among all, leaving no one behind.
“To this, we must spend time to assist those in vulnerable groups, especially our younger generation, to secure quality, dignified employment,” he added.
Dr Mahathir said the RM6.5 billion fund facilitated by the Finance Ministry through the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) would see active involvement and moral ownership from the Education; Youth and Sports; Women, Family and Community Development; Home and Human Resources ministries.
He emphasised that not only would these ministries be personally accountable for the various @Work pillars but the rest of the cabinet are also expected to step up, pool their resources and give every support available to ensure the success of the programmes.
"If we do this well, [email protected] will be the answer to driving sustainable progress and inclusive social well-being for the entire country," he added.