The Human Resource Ministry targets to include self-employed workers to be under the Social Security Organisation (Socso) protection scheme by next year, said its Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.

He said the scheme would benefit those who were self-employed, including businessmen and taxi drivers, once it was being implemented.

“It reflects the government’s concern in looking after the workers’ welfare because we do want them and their familiers to suffer due to a loss of income if any accident happens to them,” he told a news conference after presenting cheques to Socso beneficiaries at Socso’s office here today.

At present only those under employment or working can get protection from the various Socso protection schemes.

Earlier in his speech, Riot said last year 398,800 active employers nation-wide contributed to Socso compared to 383,575 in 2012 while there were 5,999,000 Socso members last year from 5,976,934 in 2012.

He said Socso statistics showed that there was a rise of 3.29 percent or 63,578 accident cases in the workplace or while on the way to work last year from 61,552 cases in 2012.

Socso has also expanded its social safety coverage to civil servants with contract or temporary status since June last year.

Since June 1 last year, Socso had appointed 3,012 panel clinics for health screenings throughout the country, including 139 in Sarawak for workers aged 40 and above as part of efforts to prevent non communicable diseases like diabetes, high blood and cancer, Riot said.

At the function, he presented cheques to eight Socso beneficiaries, including Noraini Ayub,the widow of former Sarawak football player Sazali Mohamad Rambli.

Meanwhile, Riot said Socso in collaboration with the Ministry of Health will establish Special Medical Boards in at the Miri and Sibu hospitals in addition to the present one at the Sarawak General Hospital (SGH).

The establishment of such boards was to assess impairment rating for employment injuries (occupational disease) for Socso insured persons, he said.