By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By BERNAMA
THE minimum wage policy will be up for revision next year, said Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib (picture).
He said the National Wages Consultative Council (MPGN) Act 2011 allows the government to review the minimum wage once every two years.
The review will be conducted by MPGN, he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
“MPGN and the Minimum Wage Technical Committee are evaluating a proposal to standardise minimum wage between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.
“After detailed discussions, they will forward the proposal to the ministry to be tabled in the Cabinet,” Ismail said, replying to Gerik MP Datuk Hasbullah Osman.
Hasbullah had asked the government on possibilities of balancing the minimum wage policy among all states in Malaysia.
The last minimum wage policy review was conducted in 2012, after which the government agreed to increase the minimum wage from RM900 monthly in Peninsular Malaysia to RM1,000 monthly; and from RM800 monthly in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan to RM920 starting July 1, 2016.
Ismail said increasing the minimum wage involves many components — including a survey on the economic index, as well as consultations that must be done with the World Bank to ensure that the rights of employees are always guaranteed.
“The government through MPGN must make sure the minimum wage is always consistent and not flip flop like that championed by certain quarters,” he said.
Ismail said there will be many negative effects on employers if the minimum wage was set too high.
“Employers would not be able to manage their operational cost that would increase tremendously, and some might even shut down certain operations as they would not be able to manage the high costs,” he added.
The high operational cost would then result in loss of jobs that will, in turn, cause high unemployment rates.
“Finally, it will stunt the growth of small and medium enterprises, and as a result, the country and economy will lose high-skilled workers due to the lack of jobs,” Ismail said.
He added that Malaysia has one of the highest minimum wages in the region, where the minimum wage in Myanmar is at RM340, Laos (RM479), Cambodia (RM629), the Philippines (RM909), Indonesia (RM382) and Vietnam (RM600).