KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 13 — The government had to consider slower economic growth, reduced foreign direct investments and the previous administration’s “financial mess” before deciding to raise the minimum wage to RM1,050 monthly, M. Kulasegaran said today.
The human resources minister acknowledged, however, that the increase of just RM50 for peninsular workers was a “painful” decision that was not meant to belittle workers’ contributions, especially the country’s bottom 40 per cent earners.
“This is not the end of the journey of minimum wages for Malaysia,” Kulasegaran said in a statement.
“We have been in power for the past four months only and we are determined to achieve the promises made in our manifesto, including the minimum wages agenda by the end of our term.
“As far as minimum wages are concerned, employers are required to be prepared for an increase in minimum wages over the next years,” he added.
The human resources minister pointed out that the economy grew by 4.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, compared to 5.4 per cent in the first quarter of the year.
He also highlighted lower net inflow of foreign direct investments at RM2.8 billion in the second quarter of 2018, compared to RM12 billion in the first quarter of the year.
“All these are worrying factors, which we have to address first, besides the financial mess left behind by the previous government,” said the DAP lawmaker.
The government announced recently that the minimum wage for the private sector will be raised to RM1,050 monthly across the board, effective on January 1 next year, for peninsular Malaysia (currently RM1,000) and Sabah and Sarawak that are both at RM920.
Trade unions have slammed the quantum of the minimum wage increase, saying an RM50 hike in the peninsula was meaningless.