Minimum wage essential

A new minimum wage should be amended for the Malaysian grassroots as the country looks to become a high-income economy nation by the year 2020, said Barisan Nasional (BN) youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin.

Speaking during a forum for minimum wages last Wednesday, Khairy said that the market is not solving and rectifying the minimum wage line for those in the low income cap.

“Every time this problem is raised or brought up, we are told that the market would take care of itself and the income will increase, but the market has not taken care of those with low wages,” he said.

“Our aim is for the Gross National Income increase to RM 15,000, but the purpose wouldn’t be served if it only benefits those in the upper echelons. The grassroots too have to feel the benefits of this,” he added.

He said that ‘social justice’ should be upheld as a priority in the government’s strategy to boost the economy, and that the minimum wage belt is a ‘moral obligation’ for the government.

The forum, held at Hotel Putra Kuala Lumpur under the collaboration of the BN youth and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), was attended by more than 700 MTUC and BN youth members.

“35 per cent of the grassroots workers in this country are plagued by poverty,” said MTUC deputy president Mohd Khalid Atan.

“It is apparent that a minimum wage belt will help eradicate poverty in this country,” he added.

Khalid also stated that wage has only been increased by a total of 2.6 per cent per year in this country for the past 10 or 15 years, a distant cry from other developing and developed nations.

He claimed that the problem with wages contribute to the brain drain in Malaysia, where many seek greener pastures elsewhere.

“There are 400,000 Malaysians working in Singapore. And 150,000 of them travel everyday from Johor Bahru to Singapore,” he said.

The forum saw various papers and opinions presented from various point of views- from workers, employers, the also the academic and government sectors, and was launched by Human Resources Minster S. Subramaniam.

According to Subramaniam, 34 per cent of workers in the private sector earn wages which are lower than RM 700.

Watch the video: Gaji minima: Pasaran gagal di Malaysia? | 8:52 by R. Rajeswari