Plantation: Thousand Vacancies, No Takers

Currently, there are more than 3,000 job vacancies in the country’s plantation sector, waiting to be filled. However, there is an apparent lacking of interested candidates to take up the jobs.

This was revealed by the executive director of Malaysian Agricultural Plantation Association (MAPA), Mohamad Audong a few weeks back.

There can be two reasons here. Firstly, the candidates may not know the existence of these job vacancies. They either have not been working hard enough to find them, or companies in the plantation industry have not been advertising well. Both candidates and companies can be guilty here.

Secondly, the candidates know about the jobs but have little interest to apply. Simply put, they’re being choosy. To them, working in the plantation sector offers them little prospect in terms of career development as well as compensation and benefits. Plantation is being viewed pessimistically and is often categorized in the ‘old-fashion’ industry with no real umph. Here, the candidates are the guilty lot.

According to Mohamad again, Malaysians need to change their sentiment and mind set towards working in the plantation sector as it can actually be very rewarding. A general worker who does menial jobs can earn a minimum of RM600 monthly, while a semi-skilled worker can chalk up a pay between RM2,000 to RM3,000 per month. Naturally, as the worker holds up higher or more important positions, pay increase will be waiting, together with all the associated benefits.

Apart from the monetary compensation, other benefits and perks include accommodation, transportation, utility, medical benefits, EPF (Employee Provident Fund) deduction, Socso coverage and so on.

Half of the 125,000 workers currently employed by 400 members throughout the country are made up of foreigners. Probably not too surprising when there are little takers coming from the local scene.

MTUC: EPF-to-Pension Not Practical

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress, MTUC has come out strongly against the HR Ministry’s proposal to convert employee’s EPF saving into a pension scheme, saying it both not viable and impractical.

According to the body’s secretary general, G Rajasegaran, accumulated EPF savings, upon retirement, will not be able to fulfill a retiree’s monetary needs when it is given on monthly basis, rather than lump sum.

He quoted that, on average, majority of the seven million private employees in Malaysia who contributed to the EPF account have accumulated savings of only RM50,000 or less. If this RM50,000 were to be given on monthly for a period of 20 years, the retiree can only get a meager sum of over RM200 per month.

RM200 income per month for a typical Malaysian is hardly exciting. In fact, this would automatically enter the recipient into the category of poor citizens.

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), on the other hand, takes the more reasonable approach by emphasizing that the employees should be given the rightful option on what they want to do with their EPF savings. In other words, they should be able to choose to get the money out in lump sum, or withdraw through monthly installment.

165 Companies Fined For Not Paying EPF

165 companies operating in Malaysia have been fined by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for their failure in paying monthly contribution to employees during the third quarter period of this year.

Failure of EPF remittance to the employees is an offence under the Section 43 (2) of the EPF Act 1991, with this round’s summon totaling RM219,010.

EPF contribution is compulsory for workers not entitled for pension. At the moment, contribution rate for employees stand for 11%, and employers 12%. Beginning January, the employee deduction will be reduced to 8%, and any employee wishing to maintain contribution at 11% can do so by filling up form KWSP 17A (AHL) and make the submission to their respective employer by this month. The form can be obtained from the nearest EPF branch or online at EPF’s official website.

Employees who feel they are not being remitted with the EPF contribution can complaint to the authorities, including the Labor Office, Public Complaints Bureau and the Ministry of Human Resource. They are also advised to check their EPF account regularly, which can be done by visiting the EPF office, through EPF smart kiosks as well as online, via EPF i-Account.

Civil Servants With EPF Can Choose Pension

Civil servants who has been contributing to the EPF (Employee Provident Fund) as part of their retirement saving can now opt for pension instead, the Malaysia government has announced.

Some 40,000 civil servants affected with the decision can exercise the option to revert back to the pension scheme in January 2009, with changes to start taking effect in February 2009.

Through the government pension scheme, pensioners will be able to generate monthly income, together with other benefits and perks that come with it.

Other benefits include free medical treatments as well as an extension of ex-gratia payments to the immediate family upon the death of the pensioner. In contrast, those who opt to contribute to EPF fund do not enjoy the medical treatment and the gratuity payments.

The union bodies of the civil servants, including Cuepacs and NUTP (National Union of Teaching Profession) welcome the decision to allow the switching of schemes. According to both, many of the government workers realized they made the wrong move by choosing EPF contribution and had been asking to switch back to the pension scheme.