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Election Watch

'Aye' to floor wage

Source: The Sun
Date: 1 May 2012 

Hemananthani Sivanandam
newsdesk@thesundaily.com

PETALING JAYA (May 1, 2012): The announcement on the RM900 minimum wage for workers in Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for their counterparts in East Malaysia has been viewed as a progressive a step forward for groups that have been pursuing this cause.

They, however, hoped that this development will not be stagnant and that reviews on the floor wage would be done from time to time to narrow the income gap, and that the policy will be enforced properly.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan said the amount announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak on Monday night was acceptable.

“I wouldn’t say it is completely good for everybody, but it’s a start. Now we are somewhere.

“MTUC has been pressing for the minimum wage policy for years and now, it has become a reality, so it is a step forward,” Mohd Khalid told theSun yesterday.

He also welcomed Najib’s assurance that the minimum wage will not be stagnant and that it will be reviewed from time to time in line with the capability, productivity and competitiveness of the country.

Mohd Khalid, however, hoped that enforcement of the policy is done smoothly, and that employers will comply with it.

The Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) in a statement said it welcomed the government’s initiative to introduce a floor wage policy, adding that it is a progressive step towards narrowing the income gap in Malaysia.

“While the floor wage policy may not satisfy all stakeholders, we believe it is a landmark policy for workers in Malaysia.

“The wage introduced by the government is a satisfactory middle ground, in line with minimum wage suggestions of between RM600 and RM1,200 by the MTUC,” said CPPS.

The centre, however, hoped that the floor wage will be revised annually or bi-annually to mitigate the rise in cost of living and the subsequent effect on poverty, and that it will not be used as an excuse by quarters, especially the business community, to hike prices of goods and services.

“A monitoring mechanism must be in place to ensure meaningful implementation of the policy,” it said.

Kuala Langat PKR MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid told theSun that the announcement does not seem to match the increase in prices of goods at the moment.

Abdullah Sani, who sits on the Parliamentary Labour Caucus, also said it is not right for workers in Peninsular Malaysia to have a higher floor wage compared to their counterparts in Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan as the cost of living in East Malaysia is higher.

Klang DAP MP Charles Santiago said that it is high time for businesses to back the minimum wage policy as they have benefited from the low wages for years.

“If they want to continuously promote low wages, then they are inefficient, and the government should not support such companies.”


click here to read the press statement by CPPS

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