KUALA LUMPUR, June 22 — The new RM300 per employee fee the Human Resource Development Corporation (HRDC) will charge for microcredential training grants will undermine the aim of upskilling Malaysians, said the Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA).

SAMENTA Central chairman Datuk William Ng today said the fee would directly reduce how much firms have available for training with the HRDC from their mandatory contributions, with smaller firms disproportionately affected.

“An SME with 10 employees, paying an average of RM 2,000 per month, would have to contribute RM2,400 per annum to HRDC. These funds can then be used for training programmes to be decided by the SME,” Ng said in a statement today.

“For example, the SME could send three employees to take up a course in customer service costing RM800 per person. With the new microcredential fees kicking in, the SME would now be able to train only 2 employees, because RM600 from that fund would be paid to HRDC for microcredential.

According to a HRDC circular dated June 15, 2022, the statutory body will begin charging a fee of RM300 per trainee for nearly every single one of its microcredential training programmes.

Today, SAMENTA expressed disappointment that the HRDC decided to impose the fee without consulting stakeholders such as the group.

With the labour shortages already restricting the growth of SMEs, the group said new HRDC decision will limit the rights of employers to determine the training needs of their business and employees.

“We urge the minister of human resources, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, to immediately direct HRDC to put the plan to impose the said fees on hold, pending further explanations from the Board of HRDC on the rationale and financial necessity for such fees,” Ng said.

Amendments made to the Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB) Act in 2021 makes it necessary for all employers to contribute to HRDC funds for the purpose of supporting skill development for Malaysian employees.