KUALA LUMPUR: The Social Protection Contributors' Advisory Association Malaysia (SPCAAM) has proposed an increase in the minimum wage to prevent worker exploitation.
The wages and conditions for workers in the B40 and B40 groups have been undermined, while foreign workers have been exploited through weak working conditions, claims the association.
"It has become a race to the bottom, with the only winners being corrupt businessmen and politicians," it said in a statement.
A minimum wage of RM1,500 is insufficient to meet the cost of living for anyone, especially for those living in urban areas, it said.
Therefore, an increase in the minimum wage to ensure a living wage over a specific period of time is a necessary mechanism that needs to be enforced, the association added.
The Progressive Wage Model (PWM), which proposes skill enhancement and productivity improvement for workers is touted as a "win-win" wage model for employers and workers.
However, SPCAAM argued that the PWM is merely a tactic used by employers to continue denying the rights of their workers.
"The PWM is another charade and delaying tactic used to deny workers their rights. There is no 'win-win' as businesses have been winning big by exploiting workers for decades."
SPCAAM claimed that workers' rights and unions have been systematically undermined by a government that aligns themselves with big businesses continuously exchanging favours.
It added that Bank Negara and the finance ministry should work towards determining a living wage benchmark in urban areas, considering the different scenarios across the country.
"Let us stop playing with concepts that we are uncertain of their effectiveness and continue to deprive workers of their fundamental rights to receive a fair wage."