Federal govt should study consumption, demand and inflation before considering UNICEF’s minimum wage recommendation of RM2,102 — Sarawak Premier

Abang Johari (right) speaking to reporters. Looking on is Abdul Karim (left).

By Nur Shikin Louis and Wilfred Pilo

KUCHING, May 19: The Sarawak government wants the federal government to study the rate of consumption, demand and inflation before considering the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recommendation that minimum wage be set at RM2,102 per month.

Sarawak Premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg opined that a minimum salary must be based on whether people can afford products and services on it.


He also cautioned about the threat of inflation and said salary increments have to be managed with inflation in mind to avoid sudden increases in prices of goods and services.

“If inflation increases then there is no benefit to raising salary, so it is better to have the economic policy balanced,” he told reporters after officiating at and witnessing the “Malaysia Book Of Records Attempt For Wearing Most Ethnic Attire In A Choreographed Dance Performance” event organised, by Rotary International District 3310 at the Kuching Waterfront today.

Abang Johari was responding to a question by a reporter on his view about Minister of Economic Affairs Rafizi Ramli’s recent statement on UNICEFS proposal of a minimum salary of RM2,102.

He further opined Bank Negara should also give input on such a proposal to the federal government, because of the risk of inflation caused by “too much money (chasing) too few goods”.

“What I mean here is that there must be a mechanism to control inflation. In the meantime, if we raise our salary it must correlate with the purchasing power. If not, then wage increases are of no benefit,” he said.

He reiterated that is why the federal government, especially Bank Negara and the Ministry of Finance, should look at the implications of the percentage increase and also the implications for money flow in the market.

Abang Johari highlighted that for Sarawak, he has directed the Sarawak Secretary to study the matter, especially concerning Sarawak civil servants.

“If we set the minimum wages for civil servants, then the private sectors have to follow. For us in Sarawak, we do research, we focus on raising wages in conjunction with productivity, and what we can do for it to materialise is that we create high-skill jobs,” he said.

Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) Mayor Hilmy Othman and Rotary International District 3310 Governor Dr John Chan were also present. — DayakDaily