The Malaysian government is highly aware of the evolving nature of work that is brought about by the digital economy. In line with democratic values, open discussions between government agencies and sharing/gig economy platform owners convene behind the scenes to discuss matters of inclusion for gig workers. Regulations in data protection and privacy issues, updated voluntary participation in safety net programs and issues of an ageing populace were discussed generously between us.
I believe that there is a crucial need to provide safety nets to the gig workers. Gig workers aren’t required by law to register under safety net agencies like PERKESO or KWSP. This leaves large groups of people working in precarious conditions without protection should something undesired happens.
The Ketua Pengarah of PDPA under Kementerian Komunikasi dan Multimedia touched on the civil liberties of the rakyat. He takes a moral stand in relating that an individual’s right to their data and privacy is protecting their dignity. Participants in the seminar received updated regulations regarding PDPA and the need for consent when gathering sensitive information about people.
Maideasy supports the government’s efforts to improve the standard by which the sharing/gig economy operate. We have taken measures to update ourselves with the latest developments in regulations, comply with the needs of the law and ask for consent when collecting people’s data. Establishing trust between our customers, the people and gig workers under Maideasy is an important reinforcement of our values at Maideasy in adhering to our mission in bettering the lives of the community.
In 2019, PERKESO reported that there are as much as 1.6 million people categorised as self-employed in Malaysia. However, only about 273 000 people are registered under their program for self-employed workers. That’s less than 20% of the known self employed workforce leaving them vulnerable to accidents and death at the work place when carrying out job duties.
KWSP introduced the i-Saraan program to include the self employed. The procedure to register for i-Saraan is largely self-voluntary and self-administered. To participate in this program, the person must register themselves at a KWSP branch to obtain a number, and as far as deduction to KWSP, it must be done manually by the participant. Automatic direct debit is not available for the i-Saraan program.
Malaysia is also dangerously heading into an ageing population whose needs at these golden years will not be properly provided for by the younger populace. A representative from KWSP stressed the hazards of an increasing need for medical costs at old age. Coupled that with no retirement savings, is a prescription for a dangerous outcome.
The gig economy challenges the long established factory working culture. The punch in, punch-out mode was suitable during the industrial age where there needs to stick firmly to factory needs. The gig economy allows people to control two key resources, ie time and income. Conventional ways of employment can be seen as stifling and not necessarily bring about higher productivity.
Employers, whether participating in the gig economy or not, should remain responsible parties in protecting workers’ rights. Not only is this the morally right thing to do, but we participate in a society where we depend on each other.
Maideasy remains committed in being informed of the changes in the working environment. We hopefully use this awareness to bring about positive changes, putting the necessary steps to elevate the standards in which the sharing/gig economy operates.