By P PREM KUMAR & ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM
The government will introduce a new sectoral-based minimum wage policy for the private sector in the country, replacing the current blanket regulation for all industries.
Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) said the ministry will table a proposal to the Cabinet in mid-July, to enforce a sectoral-based minimum wage policy, following in-depth discussions with industries and related stakeholders.
The Pakatan Harapan government’s pledge to increase the minimum wage to RM1,500 will be done in stages, with the first quantum of increase to be decided by the Cabinet, he told The Malaysian Reserve in an exclusive interview.
“I have told the relevant stakeholders that it (minimum wage) has to be sectoral-based. That means the plantation industry will have a different minimum wage, while the manufacturers take a different minimum wage.
“I think it will be unrealistic to increase the minimum wage to RM1,5000 directly, we will do it stages,” Kulasegaran said.
He added that the National Wages Consultative Technical Committee had completed its review of the minimum wage as stipulated under the National Wages Consultative Council Act 2011 (Act 732).
The committee had then submitted its report to the National Wages Consultative Council, a tripartite body that will discuss and present the recommendations to the Cabinet.
Kulasegaran said during discussions on minimum wage, he had received some resistance from industries.
The concerns, however, are being eliminated via intense engagement with the private sector, he added.
“They (industries) had their reservations, but eventually we settled on a certain figure that is agreed by all parties.
“The ministry puts forward a figure more or less…after some give and take, consultations and a bit of haggling, we reached a reasonable figure,” he said.
Kulasegaran said the bigger challenge for the ministry is to balance minimum wage policy between Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia.
He said the ministry is working on a proposal to be presented to the Cabinet on mechanisms to balance the minimum wages in Sabah and Sarawak with Peninsular Malaysia.
“Balancing the minimum wage is far more complex than increasing it. The proposal is definitely on the paper to be submitted to the Cabinet,” he said.
Currently, the minimum wage rate is RM1,000 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
In its election manifesto, Pakatan Harapan had pledged to standardise and increase monthly minimum wages to RM1,500 by the first five-year term and review it every two years.