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The Significance of Investing in Interns 

The Significance of Investing in Interns 

Arulkumar Singaraveloo, Co-Founder & CEO, Malaysia HR Forum, 23-Jun-23 08:45

A podcast episode on BFM 89.9 discusses the topic of interns and their compensation. Prime Minister Anwar has urged companies to provide reasonable allowances for interns, ensuring that they have sufficient funds to cover basic necessities such as food and transportation. Interns are not covered by any insurance, making it crucial for companies to support them financially. However, the government does not plan to enforce these allowances through regulations, as some companies argue that mandatory intern compensation could discourage them from hiring interns altogether. According to Glassdoor, the average intern in Malaysia receives 1000 RM or 6 RM per hour, which falls below the minimum of 1900 RM required to sustain a living in the Klang Valley. 

Arul Singaraveloo, CEO and Co-Founder of the Malaysia HR Forum, will delve into this issue and provide insights. Arul highlights several benefits of hiring interns: Firstly, internships serve as a valuable platform for interns to enhance their capabilities and thought processes. It functions as an informal trial period where interns can gain hands-on experience. Secondly, internships help companies address short-term manpower shortages by utilizing the assistance of interns. Lastly, offering internships can position companies as employers of choice, attracting the best graduates. Arul emphasizes that although interns may lack extensive experience, employers should consider their fresh perspectives and the opportunity to apply their extensive knowledge. Providing internship allowances serves as a motivating factor for interns and proves to be a cost-effective alternative to hiring additional employees or acquiring resources for short-term manpower. Arul encourages companies to compensate interns adequately, thereby showing appreciation for their contributions. He notes that some employers do not provide any compensation, while others offer varying amounts ranging from 200 RM to 1500 RM. Arul believes that employers should not view the cost of internship allowances as a significant burden, as TalentCorp offers a structured internship program that allows companies to claim up to 500 RM per month as an internship allowance, while also receiving some deductions in expenses through HRD Corp. 

Arul further emphasizes that there is minimal difference between an intern and a fresh graduate in terms of capabilities and skills. Legally, fresh graduates must be paid for their work, and Arul questions why interns should not receive compensation as well. Some companies may exploit interns as free labor, but they should be cautious since dissatisfied interns can leave negative reviews that can tarnish the company’s reputation. 

Regarding the prime minister’s decision not to enforce mandatory intern compensation, Arul explains that it would require changes to employment laws, specifically the Employment Act. While it is a positive step, he believes that employees must also exercise reasonableness and fairness in their treatment of interns. 

Source: https://www.bfm.my/podcast/morning-run/morning-brief/internship-wellfare-malaysia-allowance-government-company-solutions

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