KUALA LUMPUR, April 5 — More than 50,000 workers nationwide are still being paid less than the new minimum wage or RM1,500, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) reportedly said.

New Straits Times quoted MTUC secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor saying that a large chunk of the guilty employers come from firms which are carrying out government contracts, but did not divulge more details.

“We have a case in Seremban, Negeri Sembilan, whereby an employer has yet to pay their workers' arrears since 2019 (when the minimum wage was RM1,100). We can't trace the employers because they are from an enterprise, so they can just give any address.

“When enforcement officers went to the address, they couldn't find the company. So action couldn't be taken against them,” he was quoted saying by the English newspaper.

Kamarul said most of the employers are in the cleaning and servicing industries with government contracts.

He said that these companies claimed that they could not meet the minimum wage as the government had yet to renew and review their contracts.

This resulted in the companies claiming they could only afford to pay the staff the previous minimum wage of RM1,200, as per the terms of the old contract.

Kamarul urged the government to only award government contracts to concession companies so that action could be taken against them for any breach.

“Concession companies are larger and they have their own board of directors. The company 'exists', so they are detectable,” he said.

A minimum wage of RM1,500 per month for employers with five or more workers in all sectors must be paid regardless of region effective May 1 last year, and was implemented under the Minimum Wage Order 2022.