Comprehensive review on minimum wage policy

By LYDIA NATHAN/ Pic By BERNAMA

The National Wages Consultative Council will be conducting a review on the minimum wage policy, including to explore the proposed region- and sectoral-based minimum salary.

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) said the National Wages Consultative Council Act 2011 allows the minimum wage to be studied and adjusted according to several criteria including regions, sectors and types of employment.

The next review will be done in two years, while the consultation process has already begun, Kulasegaran told reporters after a meeting with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) yesterday.

“All factors will be taken into consideration by the council and will encompass a large number of stakeholders.

“They will conduct town hall sessions and provide recommendations which will be submitted later to the Cabinet,” he said.

The council will take into account proposals from various quarters and can work independently without any interference from his ministry, Kulasegaran assured.

The minister was responding to a sectoral-based minimum wage proposal, by various quarters.

Kulasegaran said the federal government’s current focus is on how to assist employers and workers both in Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak.

The minimum monthly wage was previously RM1,000 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. Pakatan Harapan had increased it to RM1,100 nationwide since January 2019, causing disruptions to most industries in dealing with higher manpower cost.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran said the government and FMM will work together to increase trainees from the technical and vocational education and training sector by multi-folds.

He said it is important to continuously re-skill and upskill employees as it will enable employers to improve the labour force as an initiative in human capital.

Kulasegaran stresses that there is a meeting every month with the Malaysian Employers Federation, Malaysian Trades Union Congress and the government.

“FMM recruits about 1.1 million of the workforce, while the manufacturing sector contributes about 23% to the GDP of the country,” he said.

“Action is being taken and we believe some issues like the multi-tier system for the foreign labour applications can move under one ministry to enable a more seamless and transparent process by removing face-to-face interaction,” Kulasegaran said.