Last week, Pakatan Harapan tabled Malaysia’s 2020 Budget, the coalition’s second since coming into power. Themed “Driving Growth and Equitable Outcomes Towards Shared Prosperity”, the budget saw a slew of initiatives for the younger generation, with Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq going as far as describing the budget as a “2020 Youth Budget”.
From driving Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to enhancing job opportunities, find out what the perks and benefits are for college and university students.
#1. Increase in JPA scholarships and other financial aid
Are you a hopeful scholar? Well, you’re in luck!
The budget saw a modest increase in scholarships under Jabatan Perkhidmatan Awam (JPA) with a total allocation of RM1.15 billion, an increase of 11% from RM1.04 billion in 2019.
The JPA scholarships are some of the most coveted and competitive scholarships in the country. The sponsorship programmes, which include the Program Penajaan 9A+, Program Khas Jepun, Korea, Perancis dan Jerman (JKPJ) and Program Penajaan Nasional, provide opportunities for students to study both locally and abroad.
Elsewhere, the scholarships and financial aid division under the Ministry of Education, who operates programmes such as MyBrainSc and Bantuan Kewangan Asasi IPTA, also received an increase of 27% to RM638 million.
#2. [email protected] scheme to reduce youth unemployment
Youth unemployment has been gradually on the rise, recording at an alarming rate of 10.9% in 2018 — more than triple the national unemployment rate of 3.3%.
To tackle this problem, the government will be launching [email protected] to drive the hiring of unemployed graduates.
Under the scheme, graduates who secure a job after being unemployed for more than 12 months will receive a wage incentive of RM500 a month for 2 years. At the same time, employers will also receive a hiring incentive of up to RM300 a month for each new hire for 2 years.
#3. Push for TVET education
As part of developing human capital, the government will be allocating a budget of RM5.9 billion to popularise Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). Currently, many students still view TVET as an inferior education pathway when in fact, TVET is essential for both the labour market and the economy.
Some of the initiatives include:
- [email protected]: Providing an additional RM100 per month — on top of the existing allowance — for trainees on apprenticeships
- Increasing funding for State Skills Development Centres: Allocation of RM50 million through the Perbadanan Tabung Pembangunan Kemahiran (PTPK) to fund TVET courses
- Expanding TVET pathways: Providing options to TVET graduates to pursue degree courses via the Malaysia Technical University Network
#4. EPF withdrawals to include more education programmes
To encourage continuous learning even after graduating, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will expand the scope of its education withdrawal to include qualifications at certificate level, especially for programmes that are relevant to Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0).
In relation to this, the government will also allocate RM20 million to encourage working adults to take up professional certifications in fields related to IR4.0.
#5. Free RM30 for adopting e-wallets
E-wallets are a great personal finance tool as they allow you to track your spending and can help you save money. But did you know that going cashless can also provide the government of approximately 1% cost savings in annual GDP?
To encourage the adoption of e-wallets, the government will be giving out a one-time RM30 digital stimulus to all qualified Malaysians (yes, that means free money!). All you need is to have an identity-verified e-wallet account! You do, however, need to be aged 18 and above and earn less than RM100,000 a year.
#6. Boost for bumiputera education
The budget saw a continued emphasis for bumiputera education, with targeted assistance to low-income and rural bumiputeras through various education institutions and learning opportunities.
Key highlights of some of the initiatives are:
- RM2.077 billion in scholarships and loans to the Program Penajaan Pendidikan MARA
- RM1.3 billion for education institutions under MARA (e.g. Maktab Rendah Sains MARA, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL))
- RM192 million to Yayasan Peneraju for professional certification programmes
So there you have it. What do you think of the 2020 Budget? Let us know in the comments below!