YB M. Kula Segaran: One-year Tax Exemption for Women Returning from Career Breaks

  • TalentCorp to drive Malaysia’s talent strategy for the future
  • 2018 LIFE AT WORK awards sees double the participation, celebrates 16 winners

PETALING JAYA, 26 November 2018 – Minister of Human Resources YB M. Kula Segaran said at Talent Corporation Malaysia’s (TalentCorp) LIFE AT WORK 2018 Awards that Malaysia must rethink the workplace and reinvent the workforce in order to prepare for the Future of Work.

“Malaysia’s strategy to tackle the Future of Work is obviously not to replace humans with technology – that is not the way forward. Instead, we must train our people and prepare them for the future by helping them build the right skills to work with machines, data and algorithms,” he said. 

“While the Government focuses on HR interventions such as education reforms and training programmes, we hope that the private sector will complement these efforts by upskilling and reskilling your existing people”, YB Kula added before presenting the awards to the winners.

Also present at the awards were Human Resources Deputy Minister YB Dato’ Mahfuz Omar and Deputy Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, YB Hannah Yeoh. YB Yeoh was also one of the judges for the awards.

Tax Exemption to Attract Women on Career Breaks Back to Workforce

In his keynote speech, YB Kula emphasised that women will play a big part in the Government’s strategy to prepare for the Future of Work. However, Malaysia needed to overcome the major hurdle of its women talent leaving the workforce in their prime. This is particularly concerning since women make up 62% of our public university graduates, which means that Malaysia is losing a significant amount of talent by them leaving the workforce1.

Speaking on the 'single peak phenomenon' in Malaysia’s Female Labour Force Participation Rate (FLFPR), YB Kula lamented that Malaysian women who leave the workforce tend not to return, unlike in countries like Japan and Korea that experience a ‘double peak’2. Citing a 2013 TalentCorp-ACCA Women in the Workforce Survey, YB Kula said that many of these women want to return to work but found it difficult. 

“The key to attracting and keeping these women at work is to offer good Work-Life Practices, including Flexible Working Arrangements and supportive Family-Friendly Practices,” said YB Kula.

“Women, who make up half the population and almost half the Malaysian workforce, is a significant contributing group to the Malaysian economy,” he said, adding that if more women join the workforce, Malaysia’s GDP could potentially increase by between RM6 billion and RM9 billion3.

To encourage these women to return to work, the Government will give an individual income tax exemption of up to 12 months to eligible women returnees. The tax break programme will be implemented in 2019 and is to be overseen and managed by TalentCorp.

Malaysia has a national goal of increasing the national female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) from the current 54.7% (2017) to 56.5% by 20204. To achieve this, TalentCorp runs the national Career Comeback Programme as a Government initiative to advocate and facilitate for more women to return from their career breaks.

YB Kula said the Government was committed to implement work-life practices throughout the country, adding that the Ministry of Human Resources, together with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development are working together with the support of TalentCorp, to deliver on this promise.

He further said that research clearly showed that implementing family-friendly, work-life policies will not only enable more women to stay on in the workforce but will also lead to safe and productive working environments. He also emphasised work-life practices were key to retaining all talents in the country, as they will benefit also millennials, persons with disabilities as well as potentially attract retired top talent to return to work.

“Interestingly, the research agrees that employers that implement work-life practices will also stand to benefit. 75% of global businesses report increased productivity due to the implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements5. Therefore, companies should strongly consider implementing Work-Life Practices as there is much to be gained,” he said.

YB Hannah Yeoh agreed, adding that, “The Government has taken the first move, but I look forward to the private sector taking its first steps to offer their employees the long-due support systems, whether it is in the form of childcare centres in the workplace, or family-friendly, work-life practices.”

Annual LIFE AT WORK Awards Gain Momentum and Impact 

The LIFE AT WORK Awards is a yearly TalentCorp initiative, organised since 2013, with the aim of highlighting work-life practices as a Future of Work strategy, and key to Malaysia’s economic growth and prosperity. For 2018, the Awards continue to celebrate employers that champion diversity and inclusion and take the bold steps in to implement family-friendly work-life practices.

86 companies submitted their entries for participation in the 2018 Awards, more than doubling the previous year’s 33 submissions. This year’s awards also feature new categories, including Best New Entrant, Best Small and Medium Organisation, Best Non-Profit Organisation and Best Leadership Team.

This year, the Employees Provident Fund emerged as a top winner of the awards, sweeping the top accolades for three categories: Best Public Sector Organisation, CEO Champion: Public Sector and Outstanding Practice: Workplace.

Winners of the LIFE AT WORK 2018 Awards are as follows:

  • Best Malaysian Organisation: Maybank
  • Best International Organisation: Shell Malaysia
  • Best Small and Medium Organisation: IX Telecom Sdn Bhd
  • Best Public Sector Organisation: Employees Provident Fund
  • Best Non-Profit Organisation: Asia Women Circle Lead In Malaysia
  • Best Leadership Team: Dell Global Business Center Malaysia 

CEO Champions
  • Public Sector Organisation: Tunku Alizakri Alias, Employees Provident Fund
  • Small and Medium Organisation: Noor Mohd Helmi Nong Hadzmi, IX Telecom Sdn Bhd
  • Malaysian Organisation: Datuk Abdul Farid Alias, Maybank
  • International Organisation: Chua Chai Ping, Experian (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd 

Outstanding Practice:
  • Workplace: Employees Provident Fund
  • Workforce: DRB-HICOM Berhad
  • Work: British American Tobacco Malaysia 

Best New Entrant
  • Malaysian Organisation: Hong Leong Bank Berhad
  • International Organisation: HSBC Global Service Centre Malaysia 

Special Mention
  • Kedah Industrial Skills and Management Development Centre

To view the entire roll of LIFE AT WORK 2018 Awards winners and participating companies, visit

26 November 2018

1Quick Facts 2017, Malaysia Educational Statistics (Ministry of Education, Malaysia)
22013 TalentCorp-ACCA Retaining Women in the Workforce survey
3Women Matter: An Asian Perspective (McKinsey, 2012)
4New Priorities and Emphases, 2018-2020, Mid-term Review of the 11th Malaysia Plan 2016-2020,
5MY Work, MY Life: Embrace the Winning Formula for Flexible Work Arrangements (TalentCorp, 2016, citing various sources)


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