The Malaysian Trade Union Congress, Penang Division considers the saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink” to be appropriate, in the context of the Prime Minister persuading employers to implement a minimum wage of RM1500. However much the Prime Minister or the Human Resources Minister coaxes the employers, nothing will come of this until a RM1500 minimum wage is gazetted. This can be done by a Minimum Wage Order pursuant to the provisions of the National Wages Consultative Council Act, 2011.
While both the Prime Minister, and Human Resources Minister, have taken cognisance of the need to implement a RM1500 minimum wage with regards to the ever increasing cost of living, they do not seem to have the political will to enforce the said minimum wage.
The Prime Minister’s announcement that government-linked companies will pay the minimum wage of RM1500 is encouraging but flawed for the simple reason that he lacked the courage to announce that it will be extended to all other sectors as well. The Prime Minister has a fiduciary duty to be fair to all segments of society. By announcing the RM1500 minimum wage to only government-linked companies he has, in our view, failed to act with equity and good conscience in the matter. The Prime Minister cannot be selective in a grave matter of concern such as the much awaited minimum wage of RM1500.
Under the circumstances we call upon the Prime Minister to immediately implement a Minimum Wage of RM1500 to workers in all economic sectors of the country as the prevailing financial constraints faced by the working population are getting worse.
Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC)
12 March 2022