Magdeline Luis thanked the government for the inclusive benefits outlined in the budget, which she said will greatly benefit women. Pic by KELLY KOH

MELAKA: The slew of initiatives under the newly tabled 2018 Budget will empower women in the workforce, said female professionals here.

Production executive Magdeline Luis, 27, said the initiatives are rewards for women’s contributions to the country’s economy.

She also thanked the government for the inclusive benefits outlined in the budget, which she said will greatly benefit women.

“I feel it's really a good budget for women and it is a new strategy to empower women so that we can better contribute to the country’s development.

“Also, as someone who is married for a year, I'm very excited about Amanah Dana Anak Malaysia as I hope to have a baby soon.

“The increased maternity leave, if implemented, will be very helpful, too” said Magdeline, who lives in Jasin.

Chua Chew Yin hopes the private sector will increase the mandatory maternity leave from the current 60 days to 90. Pic by KELLY KOH.

Chua Chew Yin, 29, who is expecting a baby boy on Oct 31, said she hoped the private sector will increase the mandatory maternity leave from the current 60 days to 90.

“I only have 60 days in Melaka before I get separated from my baby because I have to go back to work in Selangor while my mother takes care of my baby here.

“The maternity leave increase will allow me to spend more time in Melaka when I give birth to my second child,” she said.

Chua, who works as senior marketing executive with Suez Capital Sdn Bhd in Kota Damansara, Selangor, is expected to deliver a baby boy via Caesarean section this Tuesday.

On Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced to increase the mandatory maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days in private sector like what has been implemented by the government sector.

Najib, who announced that 2018 was the Women Empowerment Year, also said that government-linked companies, government-linked investment companies and statutory bodies would be compelled to allocate 30% of positions in their board of directors to women by the end of 2018.

Najib also announced a RM20million allocation for training and entrepreneurship programmes tailored for women through the Entrepreneur Programme under the MyWin Academy.

He also suggested tax exemption for the first year of their salary after a two-year hiatus to encourage women to return to the work force.

Najib said the tax exemption could be claimed for the 2018 to 2020 period.