RM1,500 minimum wage is good policy, just not implemented at the right time

Wee (left) and Yong in a discussion on the minimum wage policy.

By Ling Hui

KUCHING, May 14: Malaysia’s new minimum wage rate of RM1,500 is a good policy, but this is just not the right time to have it implemented.

This is the opinion of Kuching South City Council (MBKS) mayor Dato Wee Hong Seng when he said the economy is still recovering from the impact of lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“In my personal opinion, the new policy is beneficial to the society in general, but now is not the right time. Our economy has just resumed,” he said.

He said the new policy could lead to a chain reaction whereby employees would possibly be let go or retrenched and face unemployment because the employers could not afford the increased minimum wages.

In another scenario, he added, employers would be facing pressure from experienced workers who will be demanding to have their basic salaries increased when newbies are entitled to RM1,500 minimum wages.

“So, these are some of the issues that the government would eventually have to address one day, resulting from the increased minimum wage policy,” said Wee during his ShallWeeTalk Facebook live session today.

The session was also attended by Department of Labour Kuching senior assistant director Florence Yong who helped answer some of the questions from netizens regarding minimum wage.

She explained that the new RM1,500 minimum wage rate applies to an employer who has five or more employees from May 1, 2022 while firms with fewer than five staff will follow starting Jan 1, 2023.

As for those carrying out professional activities classified under the Malaysia Standard Classification of Occupations (Masco), the new rate applies similarly from May 1, regardless of the number of employees are employed.

Yong also clarified that the minimum rate of RM1,500 is referring to an employee’s basic salary, meaning not inclusive of any allowances, inventives, commissions and other extra income. — DayakDaily