Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Riot, public feedback on implementation of minimum wages? No, you tell us about this, and please increase minimum wages..

With regard to Minimum Wage, the Human Resources Minister urges the public to provide feedback on implementation of minimum wages by July 2014 - but where and how the feedback is to be provided is not indicated. 

Now, this a government that has been shown to be pro-employer, giving so many exemptions to delay employer's obligation to pay workers minimum wage. They verified the fact tha Malaysian workers were being too low a wage in 2009, and still it only decided to implement Minimum Wages on 1 January 2013 (and 1 July 2013), and even then it gave further time to some employers...at the disadvantage of workers, and finally all workers were only going to get the benefit of the minimum wage in 1 January 2014. 

Minimum wages was determined in mid-2012, and since then there has been increases in the cost of living, and yet the minimum wage rates have not been revised. Households receiving less that RM3,000 were given financial assistance by BR1M, logically even if 2 in that household were working, that means RM1,500 would be fair and obvious new minimum wage. 

And now, the Minister is not talking about reviewing the minimum wages amount but merely the implementation. 

Surely, the government should have been monitoring the situation actively to see what was happening, or it was not...because it was less bothered about workers and more concerned about employers. Still, the minister talks about the 'problems' of '645,136 small and medium sized companies in Malaysia' but does not even mention the figures of workers that have suffered in the delays of the right to a minimum wage. 

Why are we even lumping micro, small and medium sized companies? - really, the only category of employers that may be deserving special attention maybe the micro-sized companies/employers, maybe some very small-sized companies. 

"...medium enterprises is defined as businesses having a ‘sales turnover between RM10 million and RM25million OR full time employees between 51 and 150’..." Senator Syed Shahir : Malaysia Must Keep Its Promise To Workers Made In July 2012 - Stop Discriminating Workers, Including Migrant Workers

After decades of calling for the implementation of a minimum wage law, the Malaysian government finally conceded and implemented Minimum Wages of RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak which was to come into effect on 1 January 2013, and for employers with 5 or less employees by 1 July 2013. The discrimination between West and East Malaysia is unacceptable, more so when in fact the cost of living in East Malaysia is higher, and logically the minimum wage there should have been higher but now it is only RM800. 

The Malaysian government verified that employers were paying workers too low wages, following a survey conducted...
"...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...." - 
SpeechBy Y.B. Datuk S. Subramaniam, Minister Of Human Resources National Minimum Wage Workshop, 4August 2010, Putrajaya International Convention Centre (Poverty line income in 2012? The number of poor in Malaysia increasing or decreasing)
Now, here the Minister said that 34% earned less than RM700 - but the poverty line is RM720. So, we do not know how many earned less that RM720. Was it 40%...was it 50%? The survey seems to involve only local workers, so if it also included the about 2 million migrant workers, would it be even higher?

Poverty Line Income - well, that is an information that is very difficult to get in Malaysia, but we have what it was in 2009, and it RM900 - not RM720. Surely, poverty line income would be rising and not going down. So, how many workers in Malaysia were really earning below the poverty income line.

Vide Minimum Wages Order 2012 dated 16 July 2012, the Malaysian government promised Malaysian workers minimum wages in January 2013, save for workers with employers with 5 or less workers who were to receive minimum wages by July 2013. Then, on 28 December 2012, vide Minimum Wages (Amendment) Order 2012, promises to workers were broken when over 600 listed employers were permitted to pay their workers minimum wages at a later date, being April, July or even October 2013. The latest breach of promise is when employers, categorized as Small Medium Enterprises(SME) were allowed to delay payment of minimum wages to their migrant workers until December 2013.Senator Syed Shahir : Malaysia Must Keep Its Promise To Workers Made In July 2012 - Stop Discriminating Workers, Including Migrant Workers 

Why is the BN government so pro-employer? How many of the Cabinet and MPs are employers, in Board of Directors of employer companies, large shareholders in corporations/businesses,..? Logically, they by protecting employers are really protecting their interest - and if this is what is happening, this is very wrong and they have forgotten that as government, their primary obligation is to all Malaysians, especially the poor and the marginalized. And workers earning less than RM1,500 or below poverty line income are the 'poor and marginalized', and that must the first priority of government not employers that make tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions...

Human Resources Ministry Wants Public Feedback On Minimum Wage - Riot 
3 April 2014 
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3, (Bernama) — Employers, workers and the public have been urged to provide feedback about the implementation of minimum wage before July.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said this was neccessary so that he could bring up the suggestions at the National Wage Council meeting in July.

“I am asking the public including the employers and workers to come back to us with suggestions on how we can improve the minimum wage,” he said after launching ‘HR Risk Management Solution’, here today.

“Hopefully with this, we can ensure that the minimum wage can be fully implemented, and it must be a win-win situation.” he added.

At present, there are 645,136 small and medium sized companies in Malaysia, and to fully implement the minimum wage on the SMEs is a bit difficult.

In his speech earlier, Riot said the SMEs should adopt good human resource practices to reduce the number of industrial relations cases.

“Between 2005-2012, we had 94,879 industrial relations cases referred to the Industrial Relations Court and another 10,500 cases were referred in 2013.”

HR Risk Management Solution is a collaboration between i-HR Consultant Sdn Bhd and Tune Ins Holdings Bhd.

It comprises the provision of human resources knowledge and content via a human resource portal; the provision of human resource advisory support by experience human resource or legal practitioners and the provision of Employment Practice Liability Insurance.

Source: Bernama - MTUC Website

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