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.”
Source : https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/09/06/mtuc-pans-beggarly-increase-in-minimum-wage/