Malaysia on 29th October 2021 announced the 2022 Budget, the largest ever in Malaysia. Among the new government policies and programmes announced aimed at aiding Malaysian economic recovery in 2022, the government also set aside budget spending to support women financially and mentally.
To encourage employers to provide employment for targeted groups including women: to encourage women to return to the workforce, an incentive of 30% of the monthly salary for the first six months and 40% for the next six months for hiring from this category (subject to jobs with a salary of RM1,200 and above) will be provided by the government. Women who qualify under this targeted group include women who have been unemployed for more than 365 days, single mothers and housewives.
Women empowerment: the Government, through the Securities Commission, will make it mandatory to have at least one female Board member for all public listed companies. The initiative will take effect from 1 September 2022 for large cap companies and from 1 June 2023 for the remaining listed companies.
Women Leadership Foundation: The Government will allocate RM5 million to the Women Leadership Foundation to boost women’s participation in the economic sector through, among others, youth leadership training and entrepreneurship programmes.
For women entrepreneurs: A total of RM230 million in funding will be provided to support women entrepreneurs, particularly those affected by COVID-19 as well as to expand their business activities, through, among others, the DANANITA programme under MARA and TEKUNITA under TEKUN.
MyKasih Capital Programme: The Government will implement the MyKasih Capital Programme to enable women to earn an income from home. Assistance in the form of basic business capital will be provided, in addition to guidance and training to undertake online business. An estimated 5,000 participants including 2,000 single mothers are expected to benefit from this programme.
Child care centre or kindergarten tax relief: The Government proposes to the individual income tax relief of up to RM3,000 for fees paid to registered child care centre or kindergarten until the year of assessment 2023.
Improve support system for working mothers: RM30 million will be provided for childcare in Government buildings, especially in public hospitals and universities. The Government will also encourage private sector employers to adopt flexible working arrangements, as well as to provide childcare facilities at the office.
As Malaysia’s Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul pointed out in his speech, studies have shown that women are the most affected during this pandemic. We see the latest initiatives rolled out by the Government as timely and helpful, in ensuring women are not left behind as the economy recovers.