KUALA LUMPUR: High unemployment among youth — at 10.9% today — is not something unusual, considering that Malaysia is a developing country, according to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

“Unemployment among those aged 15 to 24 is a normal phenomenon faced by developing and developed countries,“ the Prime Minister told the Dewan Rakyat today.

“This group is said to be in a transition process from their education environment to the realities of the job market,“ he said.

Mahathir said the lack of skill, education and work experience, as well as skills mismatch are among factors that contribute to youth unemployment.

He said youth must also have the proper attitude to match the requirements of employers, such as being committed to their jobs, are hardworking, being team players, able to work under pressure and have a desire to learn.

Mahathir said the overall unemployment rate of 3.3% in Malaysia was also commendable, pointing out that the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development has categorised countries with unemployment rate below 4% as having “full employment”.

He was responding to Ma’mun Sulaiman (Warisan-Kalabakan) who had pointed out that unemployment among youth was considerably higher than the overall unemployment rate. He also wanted to know the steps being taken by the government to address the issue.

Mahathir said the government has recently introduced job seeking portal, JobsMalaysia, that provides a platform for job seekers to look for opportunities that match their skills and knowledge.

“There’s also job carnivals, open interviews, inter-agency programmes and others that are conducted from time to time to ensure prospective employees meet suitable employers.

“We have also introduced the Graduates Enhancement Programme For Employability aimed at helping unemployed graduates to get training in high-impact areas, to be compatible with the industry’s demands,“ he said.