Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Unemployment Insurance, the missing social safety net

1,000,000 people could lose their job THIS YEAR

How many is expected to lose their job next year?

How many fresh graduates are entering the job market this year, and the next, and the next? What in the world are they studying now? Would that little piece of paper bring any value to them? Or should they start learning new skills to prepare them for survival in the years to come?

What sector runs the highest risk of unemployment in Malaysia? What are the drivers of unemployment in these sectors?

All these questions bring about some memories in 1999, I was in Europe designing a product for one the largest global bank operating there, they wanted to hedge the risk of potential defaults by borrowers should they become unemployed...we studied detail unemployment data of various region in Europe and came up with an insurance product tied to the loan exposure. In the event that the borrower is retrenched then the insurance policy takes over to cover his installments for 6 or 12 months depending on the policy terms and condition.

In 2000, Malaysia claims that we do not need Unemployment Insurance because we have "full employment" - Ni betul2 Luncai mentality....social infrastructure requires proper planning pakcik, it is about preparing for a potential risk and providing the right safety net for your rakyat.

What if, after 1997-98 crisis, we had put in another component of Social Infrastructure whereby the Employers Contribute to a Pooled Fund, with a small element of Employee contribution. And all insurance company can participate into this fund to offer protection to the workforce. Would we be better prepared to handle what is coming?

Risk if well managed can be a good thing, and risks requires redistribution to reduce its impact to the overall economy.....right now this risk is with the Man on the Street with No tools to Hedge against the incoming tide of bad news..........(i met someone during my KL trip last Dec, he was from KT, came to KL to work for a LCD factory, lost his job 2 months ago, cant go back to KT, now doing odd job in KL......and guess what....he's Malay! How many more are out there? )

It is the Malay who will first suffer should the economy contracts further you IDIOT..yes you the GOVERNMENT who champions affirmative action-stop bickering and start coming out with a Nationwide solution covering the whole demographics, and while you're at it don't forget the foreign workers as well, make sure they get their gaji if they get fired

Retraining assistance when someone is struggling to pay his bills, installments, children food does not mean much..........if we do not have such tools to help them on a day to day basis while they find work then expect rising social issues to deal with....

What do you think? Would you like to have one?

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Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. -Lord Thomas Dewer