GEORGE TOWN, Jan 16 — Putrajaya’s special cabinet committee to tackle cost of living issues would be “meaningless” unless minimum wages are raised to RM1,100 a month from RM900, DAP’s Lim Guan Eng said today.
“It will be a mere talk shop full of meaningless flowery words without real actions to lessen the people’s financial burden,” the opposition party secretary-general said in his Thaipusam message today, of the Cabinet committee.
He said the recent price increases for sugar, petrol, electricity along with widely expected toll hikes highlight the sad fact that wages aren’t keeping up with inflation.
At last count, the headline annual inflation rate as measured by the Consumer Price Index rose to 2.9 percent, the highest since December 2011. Data for December is due on January 22.
Lim, who is also Penang chief minister urged the federal government to increase minimum wages to RM1,100 a month, to put more money in the pockets of 14.2 million of the lowest-paid Malaysians.
Small and Medium Enterprises could be exempted from raising minimum wages for foreign workers for up to five years in order to ease their financial burden, he added.
“The minimum wage of RM 1,100 monthly is acceptable to Small and Medium Entreprises provided that it does not cover foreign workers,” he argued.