KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 21 — The Malaysian Textile Manufacturers Association (MTMA) is appealing to the government to withdraw the foreign workers minimum wage policy, in order to ensure the survival of its members.
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The government has said full implementation of the Minimum Wage Order 2012 for foreign workers comes into effect this month.
“We wish to appeal to the Malaysian government to allow the textile and apparel industry to implement the probationary period of three to six months for foreign workers with a minimum wage of RM630 per month, while the employers will have to bear the levy cost during this probation period,” said MTMA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Hong.
“We also appeal to the government to relax the requirements for the recruitment of foreign workers so that the factories can be allowed to recruit more foreign workers to reduce the overtime cost in order to remain competitive,” he added.
In a statement here today, MTMA said textile and apparel manufacturers will be facing a very tough year in 2014 with the implementation.
“The nature of our industry requires all workers to undergo a three to six-month intensive training before they can be productive.
“A minimum wage of RM900 per month even during the training period has created a big burden to the manufacturers and affects their competitiveness in the global market,” it said.
According to Hong, existing experienced workers are also very unhappy with this wage system as they are being paid the same wages as the new recruits and their years of contribution are ignored.
Hong added that even local workers are subject to a probationary period of six months during which they are paid RM630, and the new minimum wage for foreigners has created much unhappiness amongst local workers.
MTMA pointed out the textile and apparel industry was the 12th largest export earner in 2012 contributing RM9.5 billion to the country’s total exports of manufactured goods.
The association projects approximately the same amount of exports for 2013.
Besides export revenue, MTMA said, the industry also supplies textile and apparel products to the domestic market and employed 85,000 workers in 2013, half of whom were locals. — Bernama