Malaysiakini Yoursay

Yoursay: Minimum wage - damned if Harapan does, damned if it doesn't

Yoursay  |  Published:  |  Modified:

YOURSAY | 'There's a serious mismatch between what employees need, and what employers could afford to pay.'

RM1,500 minimum wage gets mixed reactions

Anonymous_d395a08d: Minimum wage is a way to redistribute the nation's wealth to lower income earners. In the short run, small businesses that rely on cheap labour may be most affected as they don't have pricing power.

In the longer term, all consumers, including the minimum wage earners, will pay for it in the form of higher prices for goods and services. With increased cost, prices simply cannot stay static, or else some businesses will close.

However, I still support minimum wages as all lower income earners should feel that they benefit under the new government. But the government should be aware that its intention, no matter how good, may always result in unintended consequences with adverse effects.

The government needs to learn from mistakes of other countries to make sure the implementation doesn't backfire.

Dont Just Talk: Yes, it would be better for Harapan leaders to discuss with business leaders and food operators on the minimum salary if RM1,500, otherwise in future, the normal poor man's meal of roti canai is likely to cost RM5 from the normal price of RM2.50 with the tarik thrown in, which is not a wise move by Harapan leaders.

Anonymous_1419577444: And there goes thousands of small businesses. They will go bankrupt within months, thanks to minister M Kulasegaran and his stupid decisions.

If you want to implement minimum wage, engage the business community and employee groups and do it in a gradual manner.

It's no use setting such high wages only to see businesses going bankrupt because they cannot absorb the costs. Instead of helping the workers get better pay, it will end up making the workers lose their jobs altogether.

Kula is becoming a liability to Pakatan Harapan. He should just quit his post and go back to becoming just an MP.

Zen: Minimum wage of RM1,500 is a promise, and the rakyat will not tolerate any backtrack. Is not the promise of a minimum wage an attempt to make the life of rock-bottom paid Malaysian better?

This exercise does not affect those that already earn RM1,500 and above, and so the effect is not on the whole workforce.

Is it fair that owners who own successful companies who drive luxury cars, stay in expensive bungalows and go on overseas tours every year live on a workforce that can hardly eat thrice a day, sharing bedrooms and only have a few ringgit at the end of the month?

Ian2003: To those who think that minimum wage of RM1,500 only affects those earning below RM1,500, they are dead wrong.

Firstly, for those earning RM1,000, being entry level wages where the experienced worker earns RM1,600, what would the morale on the experienced employee be if his junior is going to be paid RM1,500?

At the minimum, the higher categories of employee salaries would at least need to be revised up as well. That is the impact.

All these are before inflationary pressures, and surely those in the government sector are well aware that each time there is a revision in civil service wages, the cost of living would just suddenly increase.

That is the consequence of increasing wages without the backing of productivity.

Salvage Malaysia: Kula has consistently been making some policies without doing his homework, but just trying to score political brownie points, from initially insisting for all restaurants to have only local chefs and now to this minimum wage.

Increasing the wage without measuring real productivity from employees will only increase the cost of business, which will push products and services up.

Spend time formulating policies that improve productivity. Spend time understanding why a fine dining restaurant is offering RM2,000 salary to local Form 5 school leavers to be waiters, but yet finds it hard to get suitable candidates.

And yet these young people claim they are unemployed. Otherwise Kula, you are just like previous BN ministers, totally out of touch with the real world.

Anonymous 770241447347646: The average expense for a worker taking into consideration room rental, food and transportation will easily cost about RM1,000 ringgit a month.

Deducting their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) and whatever their contributions, these individuals have hardly enough to send back to their parents or even live their lives.

Bosses will always find excuses to delay or not pay these wages, as they would want to make maximum profits for themselves. Put yourself in the shoes of these individuals as they try their level best to survive.

Cost of living goes up year to year, and you can be assured that once prices go up, they will not come down. Businessmen will find new reasons to increase them.

It is the duty of the government to find ways to build cheaper accommodation, cheaper health facilities and build more cheap transportation facilities to help the average income earning person.

Anonymous_d395a08d: Beware of unintended consequences of the minimum wage policy.

First, the same minimum wage in large cities and small towns, where cost of living and business conditions are different, may inhibit small town businesses from hiring, depressing the economy there.

Second, as minimum wages equalise low pay jobs across different industries, workers might switch to easier jobs since the pay is the same (usually little experience is required for low wage jobs). Jobs left behind will be hard to fill unless pay is increased way above minimum wages.

Third, be prepared for further demand to revise minimum wage upwards every year, given inflation is likely to pick up and today wages will soon be inadequate.

A proper mechanism should be in place to revise wages, say at two-year intervals.

Anonymous_4056: Increasing basic salary is a very popular stance that is seemingly necessary, but the price of goods will increase proportionately or more, triggering higher inflation, and we are back to square one. It is a vicious cycle.

The government of the day should do the right thing to increase the value of our falling ringgit. If only we can catch up with Singapore and Brunei's currency, then all will be well economically.

I hope we are heading toward this direction with the new Harapan government.

Anonymousytmq123: Both the workers' union and the employers' federation are correct in their positions on minimum wage. They are both not wrong.

What this simply means is that there's a serious mismatch between what the employees need and what the employers could afford to pay.

The real problem lies in the structure of our economy, wherein the government through bodies like Khazanah is sucking money out of the system and often without any accountability or full disclosure. For example, the toll rates, electricity charges, phone charges.

We all know that all the concessions agreements are still not declassified, in which case we do not know the profit margin of those monopolistic conglomerates.

If this mismatch is allowed to continue, eventually Malaysians would end up having serious economic problems just like the certain other countries.

We need to confront the structural issues urgently, or else...

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