Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is urging the government to better the opportunities of children joining the workforce from the B40 and M40 households, by offering them free education from nursery right up to tertiary level.
Instead of a 100% PTPN loan to students whose parents are BRIM beneficiaries as announced recently by the Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad ZahidHamidi, free education will raise the standard of living of graduating students whose families are already in debt, in trying to make ends meet.
“Free education is the best solution for students whose parents fall within the B40 and M40 income bracket, to improve their capacity of graduating and joining the work force as significant contributors to the economy.” said MTUC Secretary General J. Solomon.
MTUC in its proposed budget 2018 wish-list to the Finance Ministry stressed that the growing cost of living is currently forcing B40 and M40 students into early employment, seeking menial jobs just to keep their families out of debt, rather than reaching their full potential with the completion of their tertiary education.
Solomon said a free-education-system for B40 and M40 students should be implemented from the beginning of their educational journey at the age of six. Accordingly, their education will not be disrupted due to unpaid school fees and unaffordable exercise books.
He added that poorer students must also be given a monthly living and accommodation allowance so as not to burden them with having to seek employment whilst studying.
Majority of the youth – 70% of 300,000 Malaysians in the age group between 35 to 40 years are currently facing bankruptcy which is a serious crisis facing the youth at present moment of time. In that context, theMTUC has also sought for a long term remedy to tackle this serious crisis which has serious future consequences.
In its proposals, the MTUC urged the government to enact legislation that will compel employers to carry out free, annual “financial education” related training courses to facilitate employees to improve their personal financial management.
Solomon said this unconventional personal-finance-centric education should also be rolled out at the school level; by employers; and by the government.
MTUC urges the government to draft out a syllabus to be introduced into the education system where students learn from a young age how to manage their finances, as the country endeavours to turn into a high income population.
The government too needs to play its role in disseminating “prudent spending” messages to the public as a constant reminder of better management of their wallets.