A woman peruse Social Security Organisation’s guidebook entitled "Guidelines on Impairment & Disability Assessment of Traumatic Injuries, Occupational Diseases & Invalidity". Pix by Salhani Ibrahim

THE Social Security Organisation (Socso) has brought some good news for 328,056 recipients, who will receive a raise in their pensions at a minimum rate of RM475 under the Employment Injury Scheme and Invalidity Scheme backdated to Sept 1.

The Human Resources Ministry has allocated RM72.62 million to cover this for this year while another RM238 million has been set aside for next year as a way to ease the burden of people covered by Socso.

Income security is important to employees and their dependents, especially when some unforeseen harm visits the employees in terms of injury, disability or death. Many employees and their dependents are grateful to Socso for the good news.

Widow of Socso member Mohd Amin Ibrahim, 36, Razleen Awang of Kuala Nerus, will attest to it. Unbeknown to Razleen, the late Amin, who died when a van he was driving was crushed by a falling branch on Oct 7, was a regular contributor to the Socso scheme. She will receive RM1,600 per month from Socso and this will go someway in ensuring a regular source of income for her family.

Socso has been hard at work ensuring income security for 46 years through its contributory social security scheme, and now, it has 6.8 million members under its canopy of protection. Last year, Socso’s coverage was extended to the self-employed, workers of the informal sector and business owners.

Socso protection covers work-related accidents, occupational disease, and non-work-related invalidity and death. Over the years, the scheme has grown to provide a gamut of services, such as rehabilitation and reintegration programmes. Malaysia’s employment injury insurance (EII) and invalidity pension (IP) schemes are anchored in the Employees’ Social Security Act of 1969. Socoso’s EII and IP is praised by no less than the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in its country note series of 2016 called “Building Social Protection Floors”. Using the nomenclature national social protection floors for EII and IP, the report credits Malaysia for successfully expanding social protection of employees.

Malaysia is one of the 182 countries that is implementing the social protection floors.

ILO says Socso’s scheme has some lessons for other countries. One is that, “income security provided by EII and IP schemes secures the purchasing power of injured workers and dependents of deceased workers to smooth aggregate demand and consumption”. Socso also gets some positive bromide for other programmes it has adopted to make life better for its members. One of them is its occupational safety and health promotion programme, which is credited for reducing the incidence of work-related accidents and diseases. ILO also compliments Socso’s return to work programme, rehabilitation centres and vocational rehabilitation as they “help injured and disabled workers to recover and rejoin the workforce faster. This not only supports families and the effective functioning of the labour market, but extends the contribution base of existing schemes”.

Now that Socso has got some well-deserved international recognition, it may want to extend its scheme to foreign workers who are not so well covered under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

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