Monday, December 9, 2013

Minimum Wage Portal

The Ministry of Human Resources has launched a portal for the Malaysia’s Minimum Wage, providing FAQs and info for employers and employees. You can access it here.


  1. The whole argument about the “minimum wage" has gone hopelessly out of whack.

    No where do the vociferous proponents of the "minimum wage" in Malaysia emphasise the need for improved productivity and the continuous re-skilling and upgrading of the work force so that more and better-paid jobs can be created.

    And these better jobs will not come by magic or wishful thinking.

    They need continued investments, both local and foreign, and a continuous upgrading of the work force and the education sector.

    The unions and the Opposition make a great play about how the "minimum wage" will be fairer and how it will protect the interests of the poor and lowly-paid in the country.

    What about the flip side of the coin. Just who pays for the "minimum wage“?

    Not employers, not businesses, not the SMEs, and definitely not the MNCs.

    It's the consumer who will bear the brunt of the cost pass-ons.

    It's time that the union leaders and the Opposition took a cold hard look at the realities of wages and investment flows.

    The government isn't entirely blameless either. For far too long, since independence, successive governments have relied on natural resources, commodities and labour-intensive industries, as well a ever-burgeoning bureaucracy and civil service, to grow the economy.

    When faced with the need to transition from a low-wage economy to a high-skills high-wage economy, they are caught short, with no viable plans or strategies.

    In lieu of which, they continue to complain about unfairness, discrimination and a drive down to the lowest common denominator.

    1. Anon @4:54pm

      You are referring mostly to manufacturing jobs I believe. But there are a whole lot of jobs in the service sectors, construction sectors as well as oil & gas sector - the general worker that cannot be retrain so to speak, e.g. digging, you use a spade or changkok and that is it. Of course you can use machinery to improve productivity but you only need one driver.

      Now why can't these group of (general) workers be given minimum wages - a living wage.

      Instead of complaining, I am sure the manufacturing bosses are now calculating whether to mechanized or relocate. Yes it is a big change but as they said "Change is the constant".

      Zuo De

    2. Well, where do you draw the line?

      Should rank and file police personnel be paid a minimum wage? What about drivers, barbers, beauticians, manicurists, security guards...the list goes on?

      Should a burger flipper or a short-order cook in a fast food restaurant be paid a minimum wage? What about a domestic helper?

      And how do you determine what is a fair and equitable "minimum“?

      And as the Malaysian economy transitions to a high-skills information economy (as the government devoutly hopes it will), where the " minimum wage" earners fit in?

      At the bottom of the economic pyramid is what will happen. And the emergence of a permanent underclass who neither have the means or the opportunity to move up the ladder.

    3. @anon

      The line for me is approximately 40% of the median income level, which is the generally accepted level above which a minimum wage would start having significant disemployment effects.

      And I think your last argument is incorrect, given that the minimum wage is expected to affect 3 million workers, or about 20% of the labour force. The minimum wage will not create a permanent underclass - it already exists.