Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Workers in East Malaysia discriminated against by Minimum Wage Order

Now, what is revealed is that this BN government is really not so bothered about workers in East Malaysia and their families and/or dependents...

By fixing the minimum wage for East Malaysian workers at ONLY RM800, far below the poverty line income of Sabah and Sarawak, the government will keep East Malaysians workers and their families poor - nay, maybe even increase the number of workers earning less than poverty line income

In setting the minimum wage for workers in Malaysia, one of the primary consideration was that these workers receive at the very least wages above the POVERTY LINE INCOME


The Malaysian Government has decided that the Minimum Wage that workers in Peninsular Malaysia would be entitled to beginning 1 January 2013 is RM900-00, and this figure is above the Poverty Line Income for Peninsular Malaysia in 2009, being RM763.

BUT for workers from East Malaysia,  this BN government fixed minimum wages at only RM800  that is LOWER than the poverty line income in Sabah (RM1,048) and Sarawak (RM912) - Why? Why are they treated as though they are 'step children' of Malaysia? Remember their 'minimum wage' will be lower than that of workers in Peninsular Malaysia, when in fact based on their poverty line income, it should have reasonably been higher...

The other reason is, according to our National Employment Returns 2009, 34% of 1.3 million workers in the study earn less than RM700. It could be more. Our Government has determined the poverty line to RM720, so we have by virtue of the wage mechanism itself, we are creating poverty in about 34% of people on the go, without doing anything else at all. So when the Government decided the poverty rate is RM720 and our wage mechanism by virtue implementation as we have, shows that 34-35% of below poverty line and that is something to do and to think about. How does wage address the issues of capacity to live in this country is important issues and because of this we have this phenomenon of very low income group within the urban sector and the stresses of life which is associated with it. So we will have to accept all these facts and find a solution on how we are going to address it. The issue which we all agree is that the wages have to be increased. -

Our Government has determined the poverty line income for  Sabah and Sarawak is RM1048 and RM912 respectively, , so ... by virtue of the wage mechanism itself (Minimum Wage Order 2012 that fixes minimum wage for East Malaysian workers at RM800) , the government will be creating poverty in a very high percentage of workers in Sabah and Sarawak when employers will pay them RM800 minimum wage by virtue of this Federal Government Order.....So, poverty amongst Sabahan and Sarawakian families will be allowed to continue to exist or increased not by 'without doing anything else at all' but by virtue of a Federal Government Order....

Analysis of average wages offered by employers participating in the ministry’s Fast Track Programme from October-December 2009 is shown in the following table

Fast Track: Average Wages and Allowances for Local Workers
According to Manufacturing Sector Sub-Industry
Electric & Electronic
Average Total
Source: http://www.mohr.gov.my/blog/table1.pdf

Querries: Is this using the same data as National Employment Returns 2009? What about workers in the plantation, agricultural, construction, commercial, mining,... sectors? Data provided by employer only, or both employer and workers? Does it include workers in Sabah and Sarawak?

"... The market forces in our country should increase in everything else except wages, right? Inflation increased, cost of living increased, income of company increased and everything else increases but wages didn’t increase. So somehow or rather this phenomenon of market forces did not work and we have to go to the basic fact why it didn’t work.
There is another area to think, another area to analyze of why didn’t market forces caused upward movement of wages in this country for the lower category of people and what are the reasons for it?..."

If  I was the government, I will  fix the Minimum Wage at RM1,500-00 for this will be above all poverty line income, and this will also in line with what workers in the public sector in Malaysia are being paid.

"...If you compare private and public sector, a stenographer or typist in the public sector which we now call the N17 scale, their starting salary is about RM1,500. Whereas a similar person employed in the private sector, gets about RM900 to RM1,000. There is a big gap now between private sector and public sector. Previously, it used to be private sector which was higher than public sector but now the public sector has overtaken the private sector..."

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