KUCHING, Sept 1: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged the federal government to extend the proposed increase in the Social Welfare Department’s monthly aid to B40 or lower income group workers until the Covid-19 crisis is declared under control and a vaccine is found.
Its secretary-general J Solomon thus hopes that the Cabinet will unanimously agree to the proposed increase of between RM200 and RM300 to RM1,000 which is expected to be tabled in the Cabinet meeting tomorrow (Sept 2).
“MTUC hopes that it will not be another long-drawn study before its implementation as the people on the ground are indeed suffering, with the cost of living having gone up because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he revealed in a press statement today welcoming Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal on the matter two days ago.
He emphasised that it does not require any passing of laws but just a Cabinet decision and internal circulars would suffice once the Finance Ministry sources the funds.
“So not much feedback or studies are necessary as the Welfare Department will have the database of those eligible,” he added.
Solomon thus urged the Cabinet to extend this welfare aid to two other categories of Malaysians – which are Socso pension recipients who get amounts much lower than RM2,000 per month and the B40 workers who earn salaries which are less than RM4,000 a month.
“While the B40 workers can be assisted with this special aid monthly until the Covid-19 pandemic is declared under control and a vaccine is found, all Socso pensioners should be entitled for this aid permanently,” Solomon asserted.
By the same token, he pointed out, the PM’s admission that these categories of workers are suffering was a tacit admission that the current minimum wage of RM1,200 per month is obsolete.
“This was further confirmed after the government raised the Poverty Line Index from a monthly household income from RM980 to a realistic level of RM2,208 two months ago.
“This shows that the B40 category (workers) have been paid much less than what they ought to have been earning for several years. This is indeed unfair and we urge the government to redress this injustice to help the poor workers,” he emphasised.
As such, he added that the B40 group shoud be given allowances until wages were fixed at a living wage of RM2,700 as recommended by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in 2018.
“We would like to reiterate that for any government to remain in power, it is vital for it to ensure the welfare of the 15 million workers in the country is handled with care as they involve all Malaysians directly or indirectly.
“As such, let us remind the Cabinet ministers that all Malaysians would be watching tomorrow (Sept 2) to see if the PM’s meaningful suggestion will get the nod of all Cabinet ministers and hopefully implemented as soon as possible albeit on a broader scale to help those stuck in the B40 group and can barely fend for their families,” he concluded. — DayakDaily