Sunday, September 09, 2018

MINIMUM WAGE - a betrayal of the poor by Pakatan Harapan? RM1,200 ends discrimination against non-government employees?


1) Discrimination between workers in Peninsular Malaysia and workers in Sabah & Sarawak - the later had a lower Minimum Wage.
2) Discrimination between public sector(penjawat  awam) workers anf all other workers (Higher Minimum Wage for government employees, i.e. RM1,200, whilst other Malaysian workers had a minimum wage of just RM1,000). Most unjust, because unlike other workers, government employees also had other benefits like COLA(Cost of Living Allowances), access to less interest loans, etc..

FIRSTLY - end discrimination amongst workers by the Malaysian government - MINIMUM WAGE must at least be the same for all workers in Malaysia, and rightly it should be the same as enjoyed by public/civil servants, i.e. at least RM1,200 for all.

RM1,500 - many in Malaysia believed that all will enjoy RM1,500 Minimum Wage if we voted for PH-led Coalition...we did ...but then there were 'excuses' and even a statement that this RM1,500 Minimum wage will only come into being in 5 years ...Many felt betrayed...

Recently, the PH-led government announced that Minimum Wage will be increased to RM1,050...and that will be enjoyed by all next year(2019)...
Well, it reasonably will depend on which part of Malaysia? Different areas different cost of living? The cost of living in Klang Valley may be higher than the cost of living in Sungai Siput maybe.

What about type of occupation? Well, there are some work that not many Malaysians would like to take up? It could be could be heavy work exposed to sun and rain? So, maybe different MINIMUM wages. In countries like India, there are different MINIMUM wages for different categories of work - Manual labour done outside the offices attract a higher Minimum Wage. 

MINIMUM WAGE - an increase of RM50 starting 1st January 2019, that is an increment of RM50 after 2 and a half years with a minimum wage of RM1,000. Did not Pakatan Harapan talk about increasing minimum wage to RM1,500, something that we expected to happen now....but after election, that 'promise' changed to RM1,500 only in 5 years time?

May 6, 2016 - The new minimum wage will come into effect July 1 this year, said Datuk Seri Richard Riot, the Human Resources Minister in a statement....
When UMNO-BN introduced minimum wage, after decades of campaign by workers, unions and civil society organizations... but UMNO-BN made it also difficult for minimum wages to be increased because it included ALL employers including small businesses...

Now, a small employer running a small shop in a small town do not really have much business...and profits are also low... they need 'workers' but then they really will not be able to pay higher wages. 

Should we have a different MINIMUM WAGE obligation for smaller employers, being those who are in rural/small towns and kampungs? YES, there must be ...maybe a condition that wages paid for all workers should not be less than 50% monthly profits of the business(This will be fair for smaller businesses)... A too high minimum wage will 'kill' small businesses, especially in small towns/rural areas, for they may no longer be able to afford workers - and without workers, the business may die.

UMNO-BN's may have known that by lumping all EMPLOYERS as one, it 'protects' the bigger employers that can easily afford higher Minimum Wages...some of whom pay their CEOs and upper management really high salaries which may reach millions annually, but then they still pay some workers a RM1,000 minimum wage - this is UNJUST. Owner-employer may own the assets needed for business, but WITHOUT workers it cannot operate or profits > how much should be a reasonable share be given to workers > would not 40% profits be a bare minimum that will be JUST. 

For the rest of EMPLOYERS, other than the small businessed, including all factories, plantations, hotels, etc - a reasonable MINIMUM Wage should be as Bank Negara recommended...

BNM governor Muhammad Ibrahim said people should be paid so they could live comfortably....The central bank estimates that the living wage in Kuala Lumpur for a single adult is RM2,700, a couple without child RM4,500 and couple with two children RM6,500.Election - Did parties commit to employment security, increased financial security, reforms in employment law, etc?   


India – they have had  the Minimum Wage Act, 1948, Minimum wages are fixed by the State Governments, and for both non-agricultural sector workers and also agricultural sector workers. It is time based usually per day. ...“ Besides regions, consideration is also given to the degree of difficulty of the work. For example, when it comes to excavation works, there are different rates depending whether it is soft soil, soft soil with rock or rock. There is also different rates for unskilled work, supervisory workers, clerical workers and highly skilled workers.  The act also provides for  regular review of rates, at least once every five years.

National Floor Level Minimum Wage – Since 1996, the Indian government as a matter of policy sets and National Floor Level Minimum Wage (NFLMW), and States are advised that their minimum wages should be above this. The NFLMW set in 2004 is Rs. 66 per day (about RM4.51) Most countries have Minimum Wage Laws, except Malaysia
SOLUTION - The MINIMUM WAGE policy should really put enough money in the hand of a worker to be able to survive - a reasonable livelihood. 

The UMNO-BN was 'secretive' when it came to real statistics (likewise the Opposition governed States like Selangor, Penang and Kelantan was also not interested in discovering the reality of the people in their respective State...
How many workers have an income of less than RM1,000? RM1500? RM2000?....
How many families(husband plus wife plus children) have income less than RM2,000? RM3,000? RM5,000? 

And also
How much money is needed to sustain an individual person in Malaysia? 
How much money is needed to sustain a family (husband and wife)?
How much money is needed to sustain a family (husband, wife and 3 children?

Malaysia's poverty line income is OUTDATED ...and most unreasonable given today's cost of living...What is the POVERTY LINE INCOME?

Now, when it comes to the MINIMUM WAGE - if this new Pakatan Harapan led government should do is to increase minimum wage to RM1,200-00 (making it the same for all workers - be they government employees or employees in the private sector) - and this must happen NOW..

At the end of the year, or latest by mid-2019, the minimum wage should be increased again...

In fact, minimum wage should be increased annually - taking into consideration the increase in cost of living...

Many Malaysians, especially minimum wage workers and their family already feel BETRAYED - they expected MINIMUM wage to be increased to RM1,500 immediately after it was announced that UMNO-BN had lost, and we had a new PH-led government..

Of course, minimum wage is not a concern, for most Malaysians that already earn much more that RM1,500...BUT let us all be concerned for all those in Malaysia who are still earning less than RM1,500 at the moment - a salary that may not be sufficient to LIVE decently...

The problem with the Malaysian poor is that they seldom complain - they simply survive - but incidence of serious malnutrition among the poor in Malaysia is something we cannot ignore...

See related post:-

Most countries have Minimum Wage Laws, except Malaysia

BN Government says private sector workers less important than government workers - so different MINIMUM WAGES?

If Minimum Wage is less than RM1,500, then this government really do not care about the poorest of workers? 

Malaysia minimum wage RM4.33 per hour, other countries RM30.88 - RM25 per hour?

Malaysian workers paid 4-7 times less than Singapore?

Selangor raises poverty income threshold to RM1,500 (for an household of 4?) - 30% of state population are Poor.

21 million poor Malaysians in need of government financial aid? Poverty line income should be increased to RM3,000 in line with BR1M



Higher minimum wage nationwide from Jan 1 2019

Effective January 1 2019, the minimum wage nationwide — including Sabah and Sarawak — will be RM1,050 per month or RM5.05 per hour, the Prime Minister’s Office announced today.

KUALA LUMPUR: Effective January 1 2019, the minimum wage nationwide — including Sabah and Sarawak — will be RM1,050 per month or RM5.05 per hour, the Prime Minister’s Office announced today.
The Minimum Wage Order 2016 had provided for minimum wage rates of RM1,000 a month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 a month for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

In a statement, PMO said the Cabinet decided to standardise minimum wage nationwide after considering recommendations from the National Salary Consulstative Council’s (MPGN) review of the Minimum Wage Order 2016.

“The Government also decided not to give any subsidies to employers due to the country’s current financial constraints. This increase in minimum wage is in line with the current economic situation of the country,” it said.

The statement said any drastic increase in salaries would create other problems for industries and could jeopardise the nation’s competitiveness. As a result, minimum wage would be raised gradually in the coming years so that employers do not close down their businesses due to high operating costs that would lead to employee retrenchment.

“Employers and traders are also urged not to raise prices of goods and services following this minimum wage increase. The Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) is tasked to monitor the matter,” it added. - New Straits Times, 5/9/2018

MTUC pans ‘beggarly’ increase in minimum wage

Bernama pic
PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today scoffed at the new minimum wage announced by the government, saying Pakatan Harapan (PH) has failed the workers in the B40 or Bottom 40 group.

In a statement, it panned the “beggarly” increase in minimum wage, saying it only reflected “corporate exploitation through the government”.

“Despite ratifying the ILO Convention 131 on minimum wage fixing which came into force on June 7, 2017, the government has failed to take into consideration the needs of the workers and their families.

“The previous government did not take any steps to ensure equitable share distribution of wealth among Malaysians. It appears that the new government’s attitude towards the poor is no different,” said MTUC secretary-general J Solomon.
Yesterday, Putrajaya announced that the new minimum wage would be fixed at RM1,050 or RM5.05 sen per hour nationwide effective Jan 1 next year.

The new rate is standardised for the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.

The minimum wage is currently RM1,000 per month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 for Sabah and Sarawak.

Standardising minimum wage across the country was part of PH’s 10-point election pledge which it said would be fulfilled within its first 100 days in power.

However, Solomon said the increase of RM50 for the peninsula and RM130 for Sabah and Sarawak was a “pittance” and still below the poverty line of RM1,180 for Sabah.

He also noted that the first review of the minimum wage was delayed for 18 months while the second review would see another six months’ delay.

“This totals 24 months, demonstrating the attitude of utter disregard towards poor workers who are treated with a mean increase in minimum wage,” he said.

Claiming that the PH government was insensitive and indifferent to the sufferings of the B40 workers, Solomon said such workers had been enduring hardship since the late 1970s.

“We voted out the former government with the hope of having a government that would understand the predicament of the B40 population,” he said.

Although the goods and services tax had been abolished, he said, the price of goods had remained mostly the same and the introduction of the sales and services tax was likely to result in further debts for the B40 group.

He accused the PH government of failing to consider the “realistic” living wage for workers announced in Bank Negara Malaysia’s 2017 annual report, claiming that the salaries of those in top management positions had continued to be jacked up “based on the so-called market rate invented by business corporations”.

He said even migrant workers in the construction sector would not accept anything less than RM70 per day, while it was reported in 2016 that Rohingya refugees refused to work for RM1,500 a month.

“It looks like after 61 years of independence, the current Malaysian government is still promoting the availability of cheap labour in Malaysia to make Malaysia a paradise for foreign investment at the expense of local workers so that expatriates can buy properties while Malaysians run to Singapore, Australia and other developed countries for greener pastures.” - FMT News, 6/9/2018

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