HR minister urges more companies to pay higher minimum wage

by FAYYADH JAFFAR / pic by TMR FILE

MINISTER of Human Resources Datuk Seri M Saravanan (picture) has called on all firms to raise their workers’ wages over the present minimum wage level, as shown by two prominent corporations that have already done so.

“I would like to extend my sincere congratulations and appreciation to AEON Co (M) Bhd and Westports Holdings (Bhd), which have offered salaries of RM1,500 to their employees,” he said in a statement yesterday.

He expressed his hope that many additional businesses will follow suit.

Saravanan said, although the government is still deliberating on the issue of the minimum wage, he applauded some businesses that were already paying more than the fixed amount.

He emphasised that both of these enterprises have set an outstanding example by being attentive to employees’ difficulties, especially despite the present economic depression brought on by the pandemic.

“I hope that many other companies will follow the example of AEON and Westports Holdings, and seek to offer their employees’ salaries at rates in excess of the existing minimum wage.”

Early this year, Supermax Corp Bhd has also raised its minimum wage to RM1,400 to be applied across all categories.

In Malaysia, the current minimum wage rate is RM1,200 per month in City Council and Municipal Council districts.

Meanwhile, the minimum wage rate in other locations is RM1,100, which has been in force since 2020.

The median salary of graduates under the age of 24 has already dropped 25% from RM2,066 a month in 2019 to RM1,550 a month in 2020, risking them to be the most vulnerable group, as Malaysia continues to debate on raising RM1,500 minimum wage.

According to data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia in 2020, the average salary of graduates in Malaysia dropped 10.6% from RM5,020 to RM4,489 while the median salary dropped 11.3% from RM4,300 to RM3,796 per month.

This means that young graduates experienced the worst income reduction with their monthly salary reduced by 25%, the worst reduction compared to other age groups.