PETALING JAYA, May 1 — Johor’s Perling assemblyman Liew Chin Tong today proposed a five-year roadmap for retaining skilled Malaysian workers in Johor while urging the state government to place good jobs with decent pay at the centre of all its economic activities as a start.

In his Labour Day message, Liew said it was imperative for policymakers, employers and employees to recognise that the current conditions for workers in Johor and beyond are not conducive for the economy and more crucially, the well-being of Johoreans.

This he said was because many Johoreans worked in Singapore due to low wages in Johor and other parts of Malaysia which are exacerbated by the huge difference in currency exchange.

“In Johor, good jobs with decent pay mean providing at least two-thirds of Singapore’s salary. 


“This means if a semi-skilled Malaysian worker is paid SGD$2,000 per month, he or she would most likely be happy to stay back in Johor if Malaysian employers pay between RM3,000 and RM4,000. 

“The gap in income is filled with better quality of life and more time spent with their families at home.

“To reach such a level of pay for semi-skilled jobs, policies need to be geared towards the technological upgrade, automation and IR 4.0. 


“This will reduce our dependence on manual labour, especially unskilled foreign workers, and eventually pay better for each worker,” he said in a statement here.

Liew said all investments into the state should be evaluated on the basis of its contributions to generate quality jobs with better pay for Malaysians.

“We need investments, but more so, higher-quality investments. 

“These job opportunities should match the qualifications of young Malaysians, many of whom have received some forms of skilled training, Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) or tertiary education,” he said.

However, Liew noted that such a major wage structural shift and upgrade across the entire Johor and Malaysian economy will not happen overnight but instead take years to be realised.

For that reason, the Johor DAP chairman said the Opposition bloc under his leadership was prepared to contribute ideas to ensure the success of the five-year roadmap plan.