The world today is different for young Malaysians: Here’s how Budget 2022 takes their future into account

It will take conscientious initiatives to give Malaysian youths who are struggling to find their place in this climate a boost.  — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
It will take conscientious initiatives to give Malaysian youths who are struggling to find their place in this climate a boost. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 8 — The youth of Malaysia are a focal point in Budget 2022, as Putrajaya attempts to look into the needs of the young in a post-pandemic economy and evolving job market.

Billions will be spent on initiatives such as one-off payments, tax relief, educational courses and mental health coverage to help the youth sustain themselves.

Here is a look at the benefits that will be made available to young Malaysians in the upcoming year:

Education

Aiman C., 21, is an engineering student at a university in Cyberjaya. Despite his family’s best efforts, finances have become a problem, hindering his ability to fully focus on his education.

“It would be a great help if my fees could be reduced or subsidised, but I guess any help will do at this point,” he told Malay Mail.

To aid those like Aiman, the government is giving a one-off payment of RM150 to facilitate the purchase of items such as books and other learning equipment.

The initiative, called the e-Start programme, is made available to all youths aged 18 to 20 years old, as well as anyone enrolled in tertiary education institutions.

In addition, tertiary institution students who are in the B40 group will be getting tablets through the PerantiSiswa Keluarga Malaysia programme — a collaboration between the government and telecommunication companies, with the government allocating RM450 million and telecommunication companies contributing RM65 million.

This is aside from the continuation and beefing up of existing educational programmes such as a RM939 million allocation for JPA scholarships and RM6.6 billion worth of investments in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) industry.

It is also worth noting that the Education Ministry received the largest allocation — 17 per cent — in Budget 2022, receiving a total of RM52.6 billion.

New opportunities

Meanwhile, Dashini Ganapathy, 25, a procurement specialist working for an international company here, has been looking to further her education in supply chain management, but finds herself stifled by increased cost of living. 

“My opportunities have become a little stagnant and I’m definitely looking to upgrade myself. But the price of courses is making me hesitant,” she said.

For those like Dashini, the government has made available a tax relief for expenses faced when attending reskilling and upskilling courses, between RM1,000 to RM2,000. 

Those looking to upskill through private organisations are eligible for a further RM7,000 tax relief on course fees, as long as the organisation is recognised by the Ministry of Human Resources.

Both tax reliefs are claimable up till 2023.

Others may also seek to be trained via one of 14 different upskilling and reskilling programmes via the JaminKerja initiative, which will be conducted by various government and government-associated agencies.

JaminKerja will see some 65,000 students trained by the likes of MoHR, the Human Resources Development Corporation (HRDCorp), the Higher Education Ministry’s Career Advancement Programme (MyCap) as well as under the Polytechnic and Community Colleges Department.

Mental health and others

Budget 2022 has also put aside RM70 million to address mental health advocacy and programmes, although details of how the money will be spent is yet to be announced.

The government is also looking to grow the local e-sports industry, with a total of RM20 million to be allocated to e-sports development — which includes RM5 million for the setting up of a Drone Sports Excellence Centre to facilitate drone racing.

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