Malaysia: Shortage of social workers among challenges in addressing issues

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail  (Bernama)

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (Bernama)

Kuala Lumpur: Shortage of social workers is one of the factors contributing to inefficient management of efforts to address social problems in the country, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said.

She said one of the reasons was the current shortage of staff at the Social Welfare Department (JKM).

Citing a study by the Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), she said the social worker-population ration in Malaysia is 1: 8,576 people.

“The ratio is huge if compared to other countries, like the United States (1:490), Australia (1:1,040), United Kingdom (1:3,025) and our neighbour, Singapore (1:3,448),” she said, quoted by national news agency BERNAMA.

The JKM staff, already short in number, also have to carry out tasks outside the scope of their job, hence affecting their efficiency and competence in handling social protection.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister, said efforts were being made by the ministry to enable JKM to focus on social work tasks, namely case management to target groups.

Among them are the implementation of the Social Work Profession Act, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament in December, she added.

“To address the problem on shortage of social workers, the ministry has begun discussions with the Public Service Department (PSD) to resolve the matter, while increasing collaboration with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in ensuring the target group receives appropriate protection,” she said.

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