The First Schedule to the Self-Employment Social Security Act 2017 (‘Act’) was amended pursuant to the Self-Employment Social Security (Amendment of First Schedule) Order 2019 (‘Amendment Order’) commencing 1 January 2020.

The Amendment Order extends the Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (‘Scheme’) established under the Act to 19 additional categories of self-employment activities. Hitherto, the Scheme only applied to self-employed persons involved in the service of carriage of passengers by means of a public service vehicle or motor vehicle owned, managed, maintained or operated by a person, under any form of arrangement with the owner or lessor of the vehicle. Such category of activity would include self-employed drivers of taxis, school buses, employees’ buses and e-hailing vehicles.

The new categories of self-employment activities introduced under the Amendment Order, amongst others, include the following –

1. specified activities in the agricultural sector as defined under the following laws –

  • the Federal Agriculture Marketing Authority Act 1965;
  • the Malaysian Palm Oil Board Act 1998;
  • the Malaysian Rubber Board (Incorporation) Act 1966;
  • the Control of Padi and Rice Act 1994;

2. taking of forest produce as defined under the National Forestry Act 1984;

3. livestock and livestock production;

4. activity of fishing and marketing of fish, as defined under the Fisheries Act 1985 and the Lembaga Kemajuan Ikan Malaysia Act 1971 respectively ;

5. manufacturing activity regulated under the Industrial Coordination Act 1975;

6. construction works as defined under the Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia Act 1994;

7. service of carriage and delivery of goods or food by means of any vehicle;

8. hawking or trading, at street or market, regulated under the Local Government Act 1976, the Local Government Ordinance 1961 (Sabah) or the Local Authorities Ordinance 1996 (Sarawak);

9. service of accommodation premises regulated under the Tourism Industry Act 1992;

10. supply of goods or services through a website or in an online market place as defined under the Consumer Protection (Electronic Trade Transactions) Regulations 2012;

11. service of agent by any of the following persons –

  • an insurance agent as defined under the Financial Services Act 2013;
  • an estate agent under the Valuers, Appraisers, Estate Agents and Property Managers Act 1981;
  • a money services business agent appointed under the Money Services Business Act 2011;
  • a self-employment social security agent appointed under the Act;
  • an agent in collecting and distributing zakat appointed by the authorised person;

12. professional, scientific and technical services by any of the following persons –

  • an advocate and solicitor under the Legal Profession Act 1976, the Advocates Ordinance Sabah 1953, or the Advocates Ordinance Sarawak 1953;
  • an accountant under the Accountants Act 1967;
  • an architect under the Architects Act 1967;
  • an engineer under the Registration of Engineers Act 1967;
  • a veterinary doctor under the Veterinary Surgeons Act 1974;
  • a medical practitioner under the Medical Act 1971;
  • a psychiatrist under the Mental Health Act 2001;
  • a dental practitioner under the Dental Act 1971;

13. private support service (including those provided through online applications) by any of the following persons –

  • a travel agent and a tour guide under the Tourism Industry Act 1992;
  • maintenance services;
  • tutor services;
  • interpreter services;

14. services in any performance, film activities and any activity which includes artistic work and graphic work;

15. services in any care, treatment and recovery of health, mental, physical or social; and

16. household services.

Persons involved in these newly-added self-employed activities will be required to register under the Scheme and make monthly contributions to the Self-Employment Social Security Fund (‘Fund’). The Second Schedule to the Act provides 30 tiers of monthly earnings by the self-employed person. The monthly contribution is approximately 1.25% of the selected insured monthly earnings of RM1,050 to RM3,950 per month, and ranges from RM13.10 to RM49.40.

A self-employed person who has registered with the Scheme and contributed to the Fund in accordance with the Act is entitled to claim benefits arising from a self-employment injury, that is, a personal injury to the person caused by an accident or an occupational disease arising out of and in the course of his self-employment activity, including while travelling for the purpose of such activity. In the case of an occupational disease (e.g. lung fibrosis due to exposure to arsenic during the production of arsenic-based pesticides), coverage extends to such disease contracted within 72 months, or such extended period as the Social Security Organisation may accept, after the person ceases to be self-employed.

The benefits provided under the Act (and subject to the conditions specified therein) include the following –

  • temporary disablement benefit;
  • permanent disablement benefit;
  • dependants’ benefit;
  • funeral benefit;
  • constant attendance allowance;
  • medical benefit;
  • rehabilitation or dialysis;
  • education benefit to a child of a self-employed insured person who has died as a result of a self-employment injury or is in receipt of periodical payments of permanent disablement benefit;
  • travelling and other allowances; and
  • commutation of daily benefit to a lump sum payment.

Failure by a self-employed person to register under the Scheme and contribute to the Fund is an offence which is punishable with a fine not exceeding RM10,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both.

Comment

The application of the Act has been significantly extended under the Amendment Order and now applies to a wide spectrum of self-employed persons, ranging from farmers, hawkers, insurance agents and estate agents to professionals such as doctors, dentists, psychiatrists, lawyers, architects and engineers.