Selangor Journal
A Foodpanda rider gets ready for a delivery outside a shopping mall, amid the Covid-19 outbreak in Kuala Lumpur, on May 28, 2020. — Picture by REUTERS

2023 Budget: Stimulate gig economy, protect p-hailing industry

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 28 — Stakeholders in the gig economy, especially p-hailing delivery riders, are looking forward to the tabling of the 2023 Budget with the hope of more protection from the government to further boost the industry, as well as their welfare and well-being.

The p-hailing riders have proposed the setting up of a regulatory body to resolve issues involving them, as well as to serve as the link among stakeholders in the industry.

Malaysian P-Hailing Delivery Riders Association (Penghantar) president Zulhelmi Mansor said problems in the sector will continue to crop up if the government did not recognise the industry and introduce policy or law governing them.

 “That’s why we want the government to recognise p-hailing as a job to guarantee our interest under the relevant laws,” he told Bernama.

Zulhelmi said the mechanism proposed by the p-hailing riders should be considered for immediate implementation by the government.

“The short-term plan is fixing the floor price for delivery charges and to improve the Digital Map System in the application of the provider company so that the travel distance is in line with the Google or Waze application,” he added.

He said others included a special incentive of RM500 for motorcycle maintenance, an extension of 80 per cent subsidy of the Self-Employed Social Security Scheme (SKSPS) under the Social Security Organisation for the year 2023, and the empowerment of the EPF I-Saraan scheme.

Zulhelmi’s views were shared by p-hailing rider Mohd Kamarul Ahmad Kamil, 29, who hoped that the government would be able to find a solution to deal with the issue of low payment for p-hailing riders.

“The current payment is uncertain. We cannot estimate how much we are getting in a month.  Due to the increase in the price of goods, there is also less demand from users for p-hailing service,” he said.

The gig economy refers to the trend of a free market system that gives organisations and workers the freedom to live on voluntary work contracts without the need to employ full-time workers, in addition to flexible working hours.

In Malaysia, the gig economy sector is more associated with p-hailing riders, but there are many more jobs in the sector.

Part-time graphic designer, Johan Faizal Azuar, 34, who is also involved in the sector, is of the view that the government should strengthen the gig economy sector as the industry is a ‘new norm’ and will continue to grow in the current digital era.

He suggested that the government allocate some funds and intensify the implementation of programmes under the sector, through initiatives such as upskilling, provision of promotional platforms and incentives to help the self-employed.

“I am able to support myself and my family now with the help of my graphic design skills. Although there is no fixed income, it does provide me with additional income,” he said.

He said the government should view workers in the gig economy as also recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

— Bernama

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