Thursday, March 28, 2013

Govt taken to task over u-turn on minimum wage policy (The Sun)

Posted on 25 March 2013 - 03:47pm
Last updated on 25 March 2013 - 05:33pm
Hemananthani Sivanandam

PUTRAJAYA (March 25, 2013): The Oppressed People's Network (Jerit) and Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) are accusing the government in backpedaling the decision it made on the minimum wage policy.
PSM secretary-general S.Arutchelvan alleged that the government, in a Cabinet meeting this month, decided on a blanket deferment of the minimum wage policy for small and medium enterprises(SMEs) that employ foreign workers.

"We understand that the deferment is until Dec 31 for SMEs employing foreign workers and we are unhappy because this overrides the National Wages Consultative Council's decision.

"So what is the point of the research and studies conducted on minimum wage? It's a waste of taxpayers' money," Arutchelvan told reporters after meeting officials from the Human Resources Ministry here today.
He said the decision by the Cabinet was also political.

Arutchelvan said he is also concerned that the deferment would affect the employment opportunities of locals as most SMEs would opt for cheaper foreign labour.

"Now most SMEs will employ foreign workers which defeats the aim of the minimum wage," he said, adding that 97% of the companies in the country are SMEs.

He cited an example of a company in Klang which increased the salary of foreign workers from RM450 to RM650 after the minimum wage policy was announced. The company however had reverted to its initial sum, said Arutchelvan, adding that it could also impact the foreign labour.

Last April, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak announced that the minimum wage for workers in the Peninsular is RM900 a month, while their counterparts in Sabah and Sarawak receive RM800.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri S.Subramaniam last December announced some 600 companies were granted an extension of between three and six months grace period ahead of the implementation of minimum wage this year as some companies have been making losses consecutively for two to three years.

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