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


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