Minimum wage must be raised to address soaring cost of living

Dato Sri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Sept 2: Santubong MP Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar says minimum wage must be raised for the low-income groups to cope with the rising cost of living.

He said it would not be enough to give RM500 allowance to B40 and M40 groups.

“The prices of goods are increasing. Transportation cost is also increasing as oil prices are going up. In general, cost of living is soaring and no one is left unaffected.”

“The B40 and M40 groups, the pensioners, self-employed villagers, the fixed salary earners and the low-income groups are all affected and finding it hard to make ends meet.”

“The way to deal with the whole situation must be holistic and cannot be confined to certain groups. There must be a general policy such as an increase in the minimum wage to tackle the situation,” Wan Junaidi told DayakDaily.

On a related issue, Wan Junaidi asserted that the threshold of poverty must also be increased.

“The number of those suffering from poverty are low because the government is using a low poverty line to measure it in the country.

“The United Nations human rights expert had pointed out that our measurement is not accurate. There are in fact many more who are below poverty line.

“So the government must first modify how it measures poverty and secondly, it must render assistance to those who are in need to address poverty issue,” said Wan Junaidi.

He said the government must formulate an overall policy to deal with cost of living and poverty.

“The RM500 must be extended not only to those MTUC is representing but also those outside such as ex-servicemen, pensioners, single mothers, lowly paid clerical staff, drivers and etc.” said Wan Junaidi.

Wan Junaidi was responding to the statement of Malaysia Trades Union Congress (MTUC) yesterday which is calling for a monthly minimum of RM500 cost of living allowance (Cola) in its Budget 2020 proposal.

“With the current low wages and the high cost of living, workers are in a ‘make or break situation’. The RM500 would be a major boost for the B40 and M40 category of workers who are the hardest hit,” MTUC Secretary General J Solomon was quoted saying.

Solomon also proposed that the retirement age to be increased to 65 in MTUC’s 2020 Budget proposal.— DayakDaily