Thursday, August 25, 2022

Amendments To The Employment Act, 1955 - Reduction Of Weekly Working Hours To 45 Hours

Amendments To The Employment Act, 1955 - Reduction Of Weekly Working Hours To 45 Hours

It has been brought to the attention of MTUC Penang Division, that the Jabatan Tenaga Kerja(JTK) Ministry Of Human Resources is advising employers that they can EXCLUDE meal breaks in determining the reduced weekly working hours of 45 hours pursuant to the amended Section 60A of the Employment Act, 1955 which comes into force effective 1.9.2022.

In essence what the JTK is misrepresenting is that the current working hours, of 48 hours per week be maintained just by a sledge of hand in deducting the meal breaks of 45 minutes in the aggregate whereas the intention of Parliament, as we are given to believe, is to reduce the absolute weekly working hours to 45 hours. 

Having regards to the provisions of Section 60A of the Employment Act, 1955, it is our considered opinion that, nowhere, in the said section is there an explicit provision that EXCLUDES meal breaks in determining the weekly working hours of workers. On the contrary Section 60A(1)(d)(ii) of the Employment Act, 1955 in no uncertain language provides that :-

"an employee who is engaged in work which must be carried on continuously and which requires his continued attendance may be required to work for eight continuous hours INCLUSIVE of a period or periods of not less than forty-five minutes in the aggregate to have a MEAL".

(INCLUSIVE and MEAL in capital ours)

Given the indisputable fact that workers are engaged, by the very nature of their employment in work which must be carried on continuously and requiring their continued attendance (as an appropriate example workers required to work on rotating shifts and in assembly lines) there can be no other interpretation save that a 45  minutes break, to enable them to have a MEAL, is INCLUSIVE of the amended 45 hour weekly working hours. On this issue we wish to emphasis that the 45 minutes break is mandated, solely, for the workers  to avail themselves of the opportunity to have a meal and "not free to dispose of his own time and movements" as provided under Section 60A(9) of the Employment Act, 1955.

Given the plain language of the law, we are baffled as to how the Jabatan Tenaga Kerja is misleading employers to surmise meal breaks as EXCLUSIVE of the amended 45 hours working week.

We believe that the Minister Of Human Resources, in moving the motion to reduce working hours, was guided by the objective of reducing real time spent by workers at the workplace. Since, that is the obvious objective,  employers should not be permitted to circumvent the said amendment on the basis of the misplaced advise of the JTK as such a proposition is diametrically opposed to the objectives of the said amendments to strike a work life balance of the working citizens.

In our view the reduction, of hours spent at the workplace, must be real and not illusionary. It must, in reality, translate to a 45 hours working week inclusive of meal breaks and nothing less! 

To maintain the current status quo i.e. the weekly 48 hours and, yet, content that it is permissible just by deducting the statutory 45 minutes meal break is, in our view, nothing short of Idiocracy!

We, therefore, implore upon the Honourable Minister Of Human Resources to direct his officers at the Jabatan Tenega Kerja to stop their misrepresentation of the progressive objectives of the said amendment least we stand to be shamed as hypocrites in the matter!

K. Veeriah


Malaysian Trade Union Congress

Penang Division

016 4184520 



Thursday, June 9, 2022

An Ageing Population And The Need For A Retirement Safety Net.

 An Ageing Population And The Need For A Retirement Safety Net.

When workers were entiched to withdraw their  Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) savings to sustain themselves during the Covid19 pandemic, it resulted in only about 3% of them having adequate  savings to afford to retire. 

Thus, the indisputable fact is, that, our working population are stranded with inadequate savings, or none whatsoever, post retirement. Given the fact that our population demography is fast reaching an old age soceity, and coupled with the fact that they don't have sufficient post retirement savings, our nation may well be heading towards a future that will witness growing poverty. 

Without sustainable post retirement savings our "warga emas" would either be compelled to continue to work or become dependent on the goodwill of soceity for survival unless the government initiates an appropriate social safety system to address the situation.

We, in the MTUC, believe that it is possible to implement a comprehensive post retirement safety net if the government is minded to:-

1. Merge the EPF and SOCSO entities so as to consolidate their resources to introduce a retirement safety scheme. As we understand the EPF investment assets are about a trillion ringgit. And SOCSO's asset size is in the billions. With such massive financial assets, and through prudent return on investment, we are convinced that a post retirement safety system is possible.

2. Setting aside say 1% of taxes collected.

With the consolidation of EPF and SOCSO and with an annual allocation of a portion of taxes collected to the said entity, we believe that a retirement safety scheme may well be possible.

3. Enhance EPF Contributions.

Enhancing existing statutory EPF contributions will increase savings with our proposed consolidated EPF, SOCSO organisation which, in turn would enable the sustainability of our suggested old age support scheme.

4. Move Towards A Living Wage.

Whilst progressive improvements, to the minimum wage, is welcomed it does not meet the threshhold living wage module as expounded by Bank Negara Malaysia. According to Bank Negara an individual needs a living wage of RM2700.00 to sustain him or herself. By moving towards a living wage it would, consequentially, translate to higher savings, again, with our proposed consolidated entity.

Taking cognisance of a fast approaching ageing soceity, we would urge the government to consider our proposals. And we believe the government ought to consider our suggestions  in formulating it's 2023 budget.



Malaysia Trades Union Congress, Penang 

016 4184520 


Thursday, April 14, 2022

Exemption Of RM1500.00 Minimum Wage For Selected Sectors


Press Statement By  Malaysian Trades Union Congress Penang Division - 

Exemption Of RM1500.00 Minimum Wage For Selected Sectors.

The Human Resources Minister, M.Saravanan's announcement that selected sectors, such as tourism, the informal sectors and those who have suffered losses due to the impact of Covid-19, would be exempted from the Implementation of the proposed minimum wage of RM1500.00, is misplaced.

In the first instance the underlying objective, of a national minimum wage is premised upon the principle that all wage earners, irrespective of the economic sectors that they are involved in, ought to be paid a decent minimum wage. This is for the simple reason that any wage, below the national minimum wage, would only result in a mis-match of minimum wage levels between one economic sector to another. Common sense will dictate that our government cannot be cherry picking on the fundamental issue of a national minimum wage. In our view a national minimum wage must be enforced holistically and not selectively.

On this said issue the Minister Of Human Resources, and by extention the government, seems to have been swayed by the lobbying by the business community to extricate themselves from paying their workers the national minimum wage. Obviously, we have inherited a government that seems to be beholden to the employers at the expense of the grossly underpaid working class population.

On a population demography, the most vulnerable citizens of our soceity are those who are entrapped in the B40 and M40 segment. By exempting them from the benefits of the minimum wage of RM1500.00, the government ought to stand accused of being inconsiderate to their financial plight. They, faced with the ever escalating cost of living, will continue to suffer financial stress no thanks to the baseless selective implementation of the RM1500.00 minimum wage.

MTUC Penang Division is of the view that the government has a moral obligation to ensure that each and every working class citizen is paid the national minimum wage as all workers have the constitutional right to be treated equally.

We, therefore, demand that the Human Resources Minister, and the government, upholds the constitutional right of all workers to be accorded the national minimum wage without any exemption.


Secretary MTUC Penang Division

016 4184520


Sunday, April 10, 2022

Bosses Indiffrence To Welfare Of Migrant Workers, A Case Of Insufficient Enforcement?

 Press Statement By Malaysian Trades Union Congress Penang Division - Bosses Indiffrence To Welfare Of Migrant Workers, A Case Of Insufficient Enforcement?

Nauseating odour, rats and cockroaches infested living conditions, folded cardboard boxes for a bed, poor ventilation and leaking pipes - not a case of life in a slave camp but a reality in today's Malaysia!

That was the case when our Labour Department (Jabatan Tenaga Kerja) inspected the housing conditions of migrant workers in Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras recently.

Shocking, though, was the discloure that the employer’s representative took the position that the company has fulfilled it's responsibility to provide accomodation but had no time to monitor living conditions leaving it to the workers to resolve issues they face!

We, in MTUC Penang Division, outrightly condemn the nefarious attitude of the employer involved. To the authorities we say invoke the full extent of the law as such employers do not deserve mercy for their inhumane treatment of their migrant workers. We are also of the view that such uncaring employers should be black listed from seeking to recruit migrant workers.

Our country, having ratified the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Protocol 29 related to the ILO's forced labour convention, has a duty to enforce the Minimum Standards Of Housing, Accomodation and Amenities Act, 1990 (Act 446) without fear or favour. Though that ought to be so, we are given to understand that, with about 400 labour inspectors nationwide the Labour Department (JTK) lacks the manpower to undertake extensive inspection of housing conditions let alone adherence to employment related labour standards. Needless to state that, under such circumstances the incidences of absuses and violation of Act 446, would continue to exist on account of insufficient enforcement.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, is of the view that the Ministry Of Human Resoucers ought to create a Migrant Workers Affairs Department with jurisdiction to oversee issues pertaining to employment of migrant workers. With millions of migrant workers toiling in the economic interest of our country we would argue that a specialised Migrant Workers Affairs Department with the authority to investigate, inspect, enforce and prosecute errant employers is urgently required. 

It is our opinion that, unless our Human Resoucers Ministry takes a proactive approach in matters related to the absuses confronting the migrant workers, violation of basic human rights will continue to prevail. But by enhancing our enforcement mechanism, through a dedicated Migrant Workers Affairs Department within the Ministry Of Human Resources, we believe that instances of migrant workers absuses can be greatly arrested.



MTUC Penang Division

016 4184520


Tuesday, March 22, 2022






MTUC Sarawak welcome the announcement that minimum wage will be increased to RM1500 wef 1 May 2022 but is very concerned that the National Minimum Wage policy has been hijacked for political expediency.

The minimum wage, policy with the enactment of the National Wages Consultative Council Act (NWCC) was implemented as one of the policy tool to push Malaysia towards a high income nation.

The minimum wage policy is intended to ensure that the basic needs of workers and their families are met, protect them from exploitation, and to incentivise firms to move up the value chain by investing in technology and boosting productivity.

The minimum wage policy is envisaged to have an important role in addressing inefficiencies in the labour market, and in improving the social welfare of low-paid workers. It would alleviate labour market distortions and maximise the efficiency of labour usage in the economy. 

In Malaysia, real wages have recorded a slower growth compared to real labour productivity.

When wages have been artificially suppressed below productivity levels, it would has led to low labour participation rates in the economy and brain drain, as workers have less incentive find employment inside the country. In fact wages have been suppressed at such low levels that local workers were displaced by low-waged foreign workers.

We have no doubt that the social economic data supports the increase to RM1500. As such we are very disturbed that the Government intend to allow small and micro companies to postpone the implementation of the minimum wage.

Such a proposal will be discriminatory and maybe even non in compliance with the NWCC ACT. 

Cost of living for workers is the same no matter which employer they work for. A cup of coffee, a pack of nasi lemak, a bowl of mee or a litre of petrol cost the same whether one is an employee of a GLC, a multinational big company or a small business.  They are all from the same keluarga Malaysia.

In fact most big companies provide other employment perks that SME do not provide. So workers of small business are already worse off.

It is also a fallacy and fear mongering to claim that small business cannot accord to pay. They have fewer workers and their labour cost is not higher than big companies. SMEs are a pampered lot and they even have a dedicated ministry and many government agencies to look after their interest.

It will also be an implementation disaster as many employers are spilt into separate legal entities and associate companies and hence qualify as small business when in reality they are significant employers. It will lead to abuses.

We therefore demand that the new MW must apply to every employee throughout the nation.




Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Rocketing Cost Of Living And Unstainable Wages - Need For Government Intervention

Never in history has the employers' class subscribed to the ideals of an equitable wage system. Motivated by a desire to amass wealth, otherwise justified as return on investment, uncaring employers have always sought to suppress wages. 

When countries, such as Singapore and South Korea embarked on attaining a high wage income society in the 1980's, our political leadership took the approach of suppressing wages by flooding the labour market with an infusion of migrant workers.

With very low unionisation of workers, no thanks to the pro-capital labour legislation in force since independence, millions of workers have been deprived of the numerical strength to progress wage enhancement through the collective bargaining process. Pivoting on both the lack of trade union membership density and the restrictive labour laws denying workers even their fundamental right to strike, the working population have been, systematicly, denied a decent wage though a Bank Negara Malaysia study has identified that our nation ought to embrace a "living wage" module of wage determination as opposed to the "minimum wage"  concept so preferred by our political leadership.

Inspite of a surge, in the prices of essential goods, employers organisations such as the MEF, FMM and the SME, are opposed to an increase in the minimum wage premised upon the age old argument that businesses cannot survive with a minimum wage of RM1500.00.

Though mindful of the back-lash, I am of the view that the theory of the survival of the fittest ought to prevail. If an employer cannot pay a decent "living wage" or for the matter a minimum wage of RM1500.00 they should not enslave workers with exploitative wages. To be blunt, employers who have no capacity to pay a decent wage, have no right to a claim of being pay masters!

To the misplaced arguments, by the employers for a cheap wage system, I say you do not deserve to remain in business unless you are committed to uplift wages to a "living wage" as propunded by the Bank Negara.

To argue, that a minimum wage of RM1500.00, would adversely affect the micro, small and medium enterprises, is akin to saying that our workers ought to continue to wallow in the depths of the vicious low and middle income trap just so that employers can continue to stay in business.

Under such circumstances it is my view that it would be appropriate for the intervention of the government to correct the wage inequality for the benefit and well-being of the people.

The government cannot posture itself as the saviour of the people until and unless it has the moral dignity to, immediately, implement a sustainable living wage for workers.

Opinion piece by:-

K. Veeriah

24, Jalan Goh Swee Huat 

Taman Bukit 

14000 Bukti Mertajam 

016 4184520


Saturday, March 12, 2022

Minimum Wage Of RM1500.00 - Just Implement It Instead Of Persuading Incorrigible Employers To Act On Their Own!


The Malaysian Trade Union Congress, Penang Division is of the view that the saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" would be an apt dichotomy in the context of the Prime Minister persuading employers to implement  a minimum wage of RM1500.00. However much the Prime Minister or the Human Resources Minister coaxes the employers, nothing works unlike mandating a RM1500.00 minimum wage by way of gazzeting a Minimum Wage Order pursuant to the provisions of the National Wages Consultative Council Act, 2011.

While both the Prime Minister, and Human Resources Minister, have taken cognisance of the need to implement a RM1500.00 minimum wage having regards to the ever increasing cost of living factors, they do not seem to have the political will to enforce the said minimum wage.

The Prime Minister's announcement that, government linked companies will pay the minimum wage of RM1500.00, is encouraging but flawed for the simple reason that he lacked the courage to announce that it will be extended to all other sectors as well. The Prime Minister has a fiduciary duty to be fair to all segment of society. By announcing the RM1500.00 minimum wage to only government linked companies he has, in our view, failed to act with equity and good conscience in the matter. The Prime Minister cannot be selective in a grave matter of concern such as the much awaited minimum wage of RM1500.00. 

Under the circumstances we call upon the Prime Minister to immediately implement a Minimum Wage of RM1500.00 to workers in all economic sectors of the country as the prevailing financial constrains faced by the working population is constantly deteriorating.

K. Veeriah


Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) 

Penang Division 



Wednesday, February 16, 2022

MEF'S Grouse Against Higher Minimum Wage For Migrant Workers

 Press Release By Malaysian Trade Union Congress, Penang Division - MEF'S Grouse Against Higher Minimum Wage For Migrant Workers 

The Executive Director of MEF, Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, is reported to have said that an enhanced minimum wage would only benefit foreign workers. His argument seems to be premised upon the fact that migrant workers remit 'surplus salaries' to their home countries. It, also, seems to be his contention that, such repatriation of surplus salaries, deprives our economy from benefiting from a big portion of the wages earned by the migrant workers.

Essentially, what Shamsuddin Bardan is saying is that all migrant workers ought to spend all their salaries earned here and, in the process, neglect on their financial obligation towards their families in their countries.

Such a proposition, by the MEF, stands testimony to their uncaring disposition to the circumstances under which migrant workers seek employment overseas in a hope to uplift themselves, and their families, from the economic challenges in their home countries. It is needless to state that, no citizen of a nation would elect to leave behind their family and loved ones, their culture, culinary delights, festivities etc except for the sole purpose of eking out a living just so to sustain themselves and their families. And for MEF to have the audacity to imply that such a situation is unacceptable is complete madness! 

Values of humanity, that encompasses one's obligatory duty to the family unit, is ingrained in our society and the same values ought to be upheld in respect of migrant workers. Sadly, the MEF, fixated with viewing migrant workers as a means of production rather than humans struggling to mitigate their financial constrains, must stand accused of contempt in the matter.

In retrospect we would be inclined to tell MEF, and their associates that, if they view migrant workers as siphoning 'surplus salaries' to their home countries, stop clamouring for the services of migrant workers! In passing we wish to state that we find it repulsive, that, MEF has descended to such a cheap and inhumane approach in it's attempt to derail the enhancement of the minimum wage. To MEF we say stop your nonsensical mockery!

K. Veeriah


Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Penang Division 

016 4184520


An ageing Population And The Need For A Retirement Safety Net For Workers

Press Release By Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Penang - An ageing Population And The Need For A Retirement Safety Net For Workers.
According to statistics released by the government our nation is on the fast track of attaining an ageing society. It is, thus, obvious that our government needs to embark on devising a scheme of social security safeguard to provide for the financial survival of our ageing population.
No thanks to the misplaced schemes, to allow workers to dip into their old age EPF retirement savings, only about 3% of workers are left with sufficient savings in their EPF to sustain themselves post retirement.
Whilst the RM101 billion taken out from the EPF would, in all likelihood, translate into spending which, in turn, helps to bolster the economy of the country, the filp side is that about 97% of the working population will be conscripted to wallow in the depth of poverty having no sustainable source of financial security post retirement. Unless the said situation is addressed, urgently, our nation will be confronted with an ageing population deprived of sustainable financial social security network in the not so future. And it would be no-gain saying, that, a lack of a comprehensive post retirement retirement support system will have spill over impact on our health and welfare system.
Having regards to the matters set-out hereinbefore, we take the liberty to suggest that our government considers the following:-
1. Consolidating EPF, SOCSO And Other Existing Retirement Schemes
The EPF is said to have investment assets of about a trillion ringgit. As for SOCSO it is reported that it's asset size is in the billions. Aside from these entities, there are other schemes such as the KWAP having at their disposal considerable funds and assets. It is our view that, by consolidating these entities into a single corporation, a scheme of social security safeguard may well be possible.
With combined assets, in the trillions, we believe there is window of opportunity to formulate a comprehensive social security protection system to address the challenges of a fast approaching ageing population.
In this respect it is needless to state that, to sustain a post retirement support system, the consolidated fund needs to generate a rolling source of income. That, in our view, can be realised through prudent return on investments.
2. Setting Aside A Percentage (%) Of Taxes Collected Towards The Consolidated Workers Retirement Plan.
With the consolidating of the EPF, SOCSO and other bodies, and, say, with an annual 1% allocation from taxes collected channelled to the merged entity, it may well facilitate the implementation of a sustainable post retirement scheme for retiring workers. With the consolidated funds at it's disposable, and through returns on investments, we believe that an equitable post retirement safety network can be realised.
3. Raise retirement age
The indisputable fact is that life expectancy has risen and, as such, there is a need to reconsider the mandatory retirement age of 60. As a matter of fact a vast majority of retirees are still employed albeit at exploitative wages and terms of employment just on account of their post 60 years retirement age. Such exploitation can be eradicated if the retirement age is raised.
4. Move to a living wage system
A Bank Negara Malaysia 2018 study says that, an unmarried worker needs a monthly "living wage" of RM2700.00 to sustain himself. The said study has also revealed, that for a married couple with no children, the living wage would be RM4500.00. And for those who need to support two children the living wage need to be pegged at RM6500.00. In the light of the said study it cannot be challenged that our workers are grossly under-paid.
Prof. Yeah from Sunway University of Business School, among others, has expressed his opinion that, based on the current National Minimum Wage of RM1200.00 a workman has to supplement his income by talking on an additional job.
Though that be the reality what it means is that our workers have to work excessive hours, be it be working overtime, on their rest days or even on public holidays just so to earn sufficient income to provide for themselves and their families.
Working excessive hours, without any iota of doubt, translates to a deterioration of both physical and mental health of workers which, if permitted to continue would, inevitably, impact on productivity. Further, it would impose tremendous pressure on our already overworked, and under equipped, public health system. It is, therefore, imperative that our nation escalates to a living wage system as opposed to the minimum wage concept of wage determination.
5. Enhance EPF Rates.
It cannot be denied that there is a correlation between the rates of pay and the contributions to the EPF. Given the mis-match between the prevailing minimum wage and the Bank Negara's suggested living wage it cannot be denied that contributions to the EPF old age savings are, pathetically, devalued. Thus, it is vital that the monthly contributions to the EPF be enhanced to provide for sufficient savings to the workers. On this score it is our view that there needs to be a parallel shift of wage determination from the minimum wage idea to that of a living wage system whereby EPF contributions would see progressive enhancement.
In conclusion we take the liberty to argue that the limited scope of proposals, set-out hereinbefore, ought to be given serious consideration in the interest of the workers' post retirement security.
Press Release By:-
K. Veeriah
Malaysian Trade Union Congress
Penang Division
016 4184520

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

The Plight Of Workers In Hospital Support And Allied Services

 Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Penang Division - The Plight Of Workers In Hospital Support And Allied Services


MTUC Penang Division extends it's salutations to the National Union Of Workers In Hospital Support And Allied Services in embarking on a motorcade, from Penang to Putrajaya, in pursuit of their legitimate claims for security of employment and recognition as frontliners in the public health service sector. To undertake such a hazardous road trip speaks volumes of the courage and unwavering commitment of the leadership of the Union in their efforts to seek justice for their fellow colleagues.

They are, without any shadow of doubt, true breavehearths! To them our salutations yet again.

Almost all the time those, in the corridors of power, elect to brush aside the legitimate demands of the marginalised segment of society. But it is heartening that the Minister Of Health, Khairy Jamalludin took the initiative to meet with the Union's representatives upon their arrival in Putrajaya. Even more significant is his undertaking to seek a comprehensive resolution to the workers predicament.

 We, in MTUC Penang, believe that Khairy Jamalludin would endeavour to seek a just solution to the injustice that workers in the hospital support services are facing. It is also our earnest hope that the Honourable Minister would ensure that the hospital support services workers are absorbed as civil servants under the Ministry Of Health. 

On reflection the current plight, of the workers in the hospital support services, is a result of privatisation of the said services  by the then Barisan National government. Those, who were beneficiaries of the privatisation of the hospital support services, reaped benefits whilst the workers were conscripted to toil under conditions that may well attract comparison to modern day slavery!

Given the severity of the situation, it is our view, that, the only honourable option for the government is to restore the status quo by absorbing the said workers into the public services scheme of employment. 

K. Veeriah


Malaysian Trade Union Congress Penang 

016 4184520


Monday, February 7, 2022

Is A RM1500.00 Minimum Wage Adequate As Opposed To A Living Wage?

 Is A RM1500.00 Minimum Wage Adequate As Opposed To A Living Wage?

- MTUC Penang  Division 

As soon as the Human Resources Minister, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, announced that a minimum wage of RM1500.00 was likely to be realised by year end the employer's bloc want on the offensive to oppose that said possibility. The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) took the position that a minimum wage of RM1500.00 would not be sustainable for a wide range of employers. 

We, in the MTUC, find that argument rather misplaced as that was the same proposition that was presented when the national Minimum Wage was introduced in 2013. Paying a minimum wage of RM900.00 was opposed, then, premised upon the inability of employers to absorb the so-called increase in wages. However the reality is that employers have continue to prevail insipte of the progressive enhancement of the minimum wage from RM900.00 to the current RM1200.00.

 In fact employers have no reasons to object, to a bi-annual revision of the national minimum wage, as it is a requirement under the Minimum Wages Act. Employers, and the MEF, cannot feign ignorance of the law! Since bi-annual revision, of the minimum wage, is a mandatory requirement employers cannot attempt to circumvent such legal requirement for whatever reasons. Thus, we in the MTUC, are baffled at the MEF's resistance against the government's mandatory obligation in the matter. 

While welcoming the Human Resources Minister's statement that a RM1500.00 minimum wage is a possibility we would urge the government to shift it's focus from the minimum wage concept of wage determination to what is propounded as a "living wage" system.

With cost of living factors, constantly, out pacing minimum wages it is our view that the government ought to embark on a "living wage" module to ensure that the working population is paid an equitable "living wage" - sufficient income to provide for themselves and their dependants.

K. Veeriah 


Malaysian Trades Union Congress 

Penang Division 

016 4184520


Monday, January 17, 2022

Labour Law Reform Coalition calls on the government to increase the minimum wage to RM1,400 in February 2022, and to RM1,500 in February 2023.

 Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 17 January 2022 in Shah Alam

*LLRC calls on the government honours “wage contract” signed with workers in the GE14*

Labour Law Reform Coalition calls on the government to increase the minimum wage to RM1,400 in February 2022, and to RM1,500 in February 2023. 

Given that both Pakatan Harapan (PH) and Barisan Nasional (BN) made promises in their 14th general election manifesto to increase the minimum wage to RM1,500 by the end of the five-year term, the Perikatan Nasional government, which consists of former component parties of PH and BN component parties, should materialize the election promises.

We see the election promise as a “wage contract” in between the political parties and Malaysian workers in the 14th general election, they voted for political parties with the hope that the proposed minimum wage would be implemented. Therefore, politicians should honour their promises and announce the new minimum wage order in accordance with their manifesto text. 

In addition, the government should not delay the implementation of the new minimum wage, which should come into force on 1 February 2022. The previous minimum wage rate took effect on 1 February 2020.

It is important to note that the Act 732 does not prohibit the council to review the order before the two-year period. The government can actually announce the new minimum wage order every year. 

According to article 25 of the National Wages Consultative Council Act 2011 (Act 732), the council shall, at least once in every two years, review the minimum wages order. It is the responsibility of the cabinet to conclude and announce the new minimum wage before the two-year expiration of the previous minimum rate. 

Previously, Malaysian workers were short-changed because the government failed to strictly observe the two-year review period, particularly during 2013 to 2018. We urge the government to insert a new section in the Act 732, requiring the government to announce the revised minimum wage order at least every two years. 

That means, the council shall conduct the studies much earlier, in order for the government to announce the new order before the expiration of the two-year period. The proposed reform can close the loophole that gives the government leeway to delay the implementation of new minimum order without accountability.

Moreover, the average statutory minimum wage increment in the past 8 years is only RM37.5 per year for 56 council and municipal areas, and only RM25 per year for non-council and municipal areas. 

The minimum wage in the rural areas has been stagnant since January 2019, which is unfair because the people in rural areas too suffer from inflation. Thus, the new minimum wage rate should be standardized across Malaysia.

N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier


Labour Law Reform Coalition

Saturday, January 15, 2022

LLRC lambasts Malaysian Employers Federation for its inhuman statement on migrant workers’ right to change employment in the event of abuse

 Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 15 January 2022 in Shah Alam

*LLRC lambasts Malaysian Employers Federation for its inhuman statement on migrant workers’ right to change employment in the event of abuse*

Labour Law Reform Coalition is appalled by Malaysian Employers Federation’s (MEF) opposition to a proposal that called for allowing migrant workers to change employment as a means to end forced labour. MEF claimed it was unfair because employers would have spent a lot of money during the recruitment process.

We criticize MEF for its inhuman and money-minded statement. The employer association clearly turned a blind eye to abundant evidence of forced labour incidents in Malaysia as a result of the rigid employment system for migrant workers.

Trade unions and migrant worker organizations in Malaysia have observed a repetitive pattern of rights abuse – errant employers hold the wages of migrant workers, confiscate their passport to restrict their movement, terminate and repatriate them without pay, non-renewal of work permit and turn migrant into undocumented status. 

The root cause of these problems is the power imbalance between the migrant workers and their employers. The employers can misuse the rigid employment system to threaten migrant workers to work as forced labour.

In a gap analysis on Malaysian legislation and the ILO Forced Labour Convention, International Labour Organization (ILO) recommends the Malaysian government to address the power imbalance by allowing termination of contracts and labour market mobility for migrant workers in the event of legal rights violations.

The ILO's proposal argues that the proposed change will enable migrant workers to engage with the process of renewal of work permits and retain their own passports. It states that such measures can overcome the problem of migrant workers’ dependency on employers, they can voice out the forced labour situation with officials during the engagements.

Therefore, we call on MEF to willingly accept the proposal to allow migrant workers to change their employment in the event of rights violations. The employers’ expenses during the recruitment process should not be an excuse to condone violation of workers’ rights and criminal activities. 

Please put people before the profit!              

N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier


Labour Law Reform Coalition

Monday, January 3, 2022

The Reported Strike By Gig Workers Involving Lazada

 The Reported Strike By Gig Workers Involving Lazada - Press Release By MTUC Penang Division 

It is reported, that, hundreds of gig workers working for Lazada have decided to withhold their services pursuant to the said company's unilateral decision to revise their terms of contract. It is alleged that, such a unilateral revision, would result in a substantial reduction in the earnings of the workers concerned.

Whlist MTUC Penang Division applauds the action of the workers involved, we are of the view that the plight of the gig workers will continue to prevail as long as the government fails to address the employment inequalities in the said sector.

As a point of reference, we believe that, all gig workers ought to be protected by existing labour legislations be it the Employment Act,  1955, the Industrial Relation Act, 1967, the Minimum Wage Act etc. In the absence of, such legislative protection, the gig community is left at the mercy of the employers who, creatively, exploit their vulnerability in their pursuit to maximise profits! 

Under such circumstances MTUC Penang Division demands that the government embarks on a reallingment of the existing labour laws so as to ensure that the gig workers are adequately protected.

K. Veeriah 

Secretary MTUC Penang  Division