No problem for RM1,500 minimum wage in plantation sector

For the palm oil industry, the average salary level is around RM2,000 to RM2,500 per month, says Zuraida 


THE plantation sector is not facing any problem in implementing the RM1,500 minimum wage a month by year-end, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Zuraida Kamaruddin. 

For the palm oil industry, in particular, Zuraida said the average salary level in the plantation sector is around RM2,000 to RM2,500 per month. 

“I think income is not a problem for the plantation sector to comply with the new minimum wage. Salaries for the palm oil industry are higher,” she said at a press conference after officiating the 15th National Seminar 2022. 

Last month, the Cabinet agreed to implement a new minimum wage setting before the end of this year. 

Read more: New minimum wage may be sooner than year-end

The Ministry of Human Resources said it will be around RM1,500 and below although the actual value of the new rate has not been finalised as the last time minimum wage was raised on Feb 1, 2020, with an increase of RM100 from RM1,100 to RM1,200 per month. 

The minimum wage to be paid to employees in any area of the City Council or Municipal Council is RM1,200 per month, RM46.15 per day (six working days in a week), RM55.38 per day (five days), and RM69.23 per day 

(four days), while the hourly fee is RM5.77, based on the Minimum Wage Order 2020, Section 23 of the National Wage Consultative Council Act 2011 (Act 732). 

The salary of RM1,100 per month applies to areas other than the City Council or Municipal Councilor daily RM42.31 (six working days in a week), RM50.77 (five days), and RM63.46 (four days), while the hourly fee is RM5.29. 

However, recently, the Congress of Unions 

of Employees in the Public Service (Cuepacs) reiterated the proposed new minimum wage of RM1,800 per month for the public sector compared to the current RM1,200 per month. 

Additionally, on Sunday, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress urged the government to make a minimum wage of RM1,500 compulsory for all private sectors including government-linked companies and government-linked investment companies. 

The union stated that the government should make a minimum wage of RM1,500 compulsory for private-sector workers through a minimum wage order and not just advise companies to do the same. 

Read more: Fresh graduates worst hit as minimum wage debate continues

Meanwhile, on a separate matter, Zuraida said the government and stakeholders need to resolve issues faced by plantation industry participants in the value chain such as high-3 monochloropropane diol (3-MCPD) and labour shortages. 

“The ministry has provided various platforms and mechanisms to enable stakeholders to share ideas, knowledge, and feedback in formulating policies and guidelines. 

“We need agreement and consensus to move forward in achieving our goals and protecting the country’s plantation industry,” Zuraida added. 

In the meantime, the minister will hold a meeting with the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) regarding a statement saying that eight out of 1,000 workers in the oil palm plantation sector in Malaysia are forced labour. 

“We will have a meeting with Suhakam to get clarification on the data obtained,” he said. 

Recently, Suhakam chairman Tan Sri Othman Hashim revealed that eight out of 1,000 palm oil industry workers are forced labour including private and government estate workers. 

Othman said the majority of those involved in forced labour are poor and vulnerable individuals in the community. 

“Forced labour is a criminal offense and a violation of human rights,” Othman said. 

Read more: Plantation sector needs more foreign workers