Pandemics Widens Inequality, Living Standards Gap: EPF

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the issues of social inequality, especially in terms of living standards including employment, health, and quality education, hence, there is an urgent need to re-examine social contracts in the country, says Employees Provident Fund (EPF) CEO, Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan.

“The pandemic had brought inequality into a deeper focus, where the value of employment, good health, quality education, and a meaningful standard of living, are now given a new leaf.

“The impact of inequality has become a challenging issue hindering the development of societies around the world, and even with pandemics, the existing state of inequality has increased, leading to more unfavourable social and economic conditions.”

Therefore, he adds, fresh solutions towards achieving social well-being are necessary along with the need for social protection policies aimed at addressing shortages and promoting access for all to achieve a better quality of life.

“Given the inequalities arising from the lack of opportunities and resources for those most in need, we need to look into the consolidation of efforts across all stakeholders, from the public or private sector. Understanding and exploring the dynamics of public-private partnerships to drive economic growth is a key strategy for us to explore.

The post-pandemic economy demands a renegotiation of social contracts so that all parties could work together towards promoting people’s rights, employment with a dignified wage structure, and increasing inclusion through social dialogue and collective bargaining.

“The heart of a strong social contract lies in intact trust, increased investment in the quality provision, commitment to the public mandate, and most importantly, good work for all.

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