Question: What is the minimum wage of workers in Malaysia? Is there such thing here?
Answer: No, there is no minimum wage in Malaysia at the moment.
What is a minimum wage? It is defined as the lowest salary rate (could be hourly, daily or monthly) that an employer can legally pay to their workers or employees. A minimum wage is a law which is in force over 90% of the countries worldwide, including a number of neighboring countries like Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia.
Actually, the issue of minimum wage has been going on for almost a decade in Malaysia. Even as of today, the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz, who is also the former Chairman of Maybank group, told the newspapers that ‘talks and debates are still on-going’ on whether a minimum wage should be introduced for employees in the country.
The fight for the introduction of minimum wage was spearheaded by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), and the effort was stepped up after the government announced a hefty increase in the salary of the government employees. The move seems to be logical as the min wage will see the workers in the private sectors, who are not benefiting from the government salary increase, protected. In mid 2007, MTUC organized a nationwide picket across more than a dozen locations countrywide.
In the picket, workers were seen waving banners and placards that read, “Tol naik, gula naik, Astro naik, gaji tak naik“, “Don’t marginalized workers” and “Thailand ada, Indonesia ada, Malaysia tak ada“. Union workers have also pointed out that employers are taking advantage of the absence of a minimum wage to exploit workers with more than 10,000 employees nationwide are receiving a low RM300 to RM450 monthly salary, figures which are detrimental to the workers’ survival.
MTUC has been pressuring the Malaysia government to introduce a minimum wage, which should range between RM900 to RM1000 per month. A good minimum wage would increase the household income, attract more local Malaysian workers as well reduce the dependence on foreign labour.