IPOH, Nov 2 ― The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has been caught off guard by the announcement in Budget 2019 that the minimum wage will be increased to RM1,100 from RM1,050.
Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the move would only benefit the country’s estimated 1.8 million foreign workers.
“We are very upset and have been taken by surprise over the announcement,” he said.
Speaking to Malay Mail, Shamsuddin said the government had announced and gazetted the minimum wage at RM1,050 following the recommendation of the National Wage Consultative Council (NWCC).
“We did not expect further review during this period. This announcement of the new rate was unexpected and creates bad precedence,” he said, adding that it would erode investors’ confidence.
Saying it was a flip-flop decision by Putrajaya, Shamsuddin said foreign workers would be laughing all the way to the money changer.
He warned that the increase would lead to prices of goods and services to increase.
“Manufacturers will pass on the cost,” he said.
On tax cuts for employing former convicts, Shamsuddin said MEF would need the guidance of the Prison Department.
“We will not be familiar on how to handle them and the kind of jobs suitable for them,” he said.
“But we will need guidance from the authorities as we are going into unfamiliar turf,” he added, lauding the move and saying that ex-convicts should be given a chance to turn over a new leaf.
On tax breaks to employers for helping to collect PTPTN loans, Shamsuddin said MEF welcomed it.
“We will welcome it more if similar tax breaks are given to employers for collecting income tax,” he added.