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Yoursay: Higher wages impractical without structural reforms

YOURSAY | ‘Unless industries are willing to bite the bullet, we will be in the middle-income trap.’

Bank Negara calls for 'critical' labour reforms with many M'sians underpaid

Aonymous_e3e72c1b: Thank you, Bank Negara, for saying what needed to be said. Malaysians are underpaid. It starts with the political will to do the right thing, and higher wages will follow.

But the prime minister’s likely response to this will be that we cannot pay our workers what those in developed countries are paid, or risk local companies retrenching and foreign companies going elsewhere.

Patathewoonie: Putrajaya should not look at wages solely, but think of how to tackle inflation instead. Pushing wages upward will push another round of inflation, no one wins in the end.

Bring down land prices, and house prices will drop. Bring down fuel prices, and the consumer price index will drop.

Bring down government charges and tariffs, and business cost will drop. Purchasing power will surely go up without having a wage increase.

Clever Voter: Bank Negara governor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus is right. While we see gradual interest among industry players, including SMEs (small and medium enterprises), we must make the following changes.

Firstly, the cost of compliance must come down or be totally removed. Second, fiscal incentives must be accompanied by companies willing to pass on benefits to employees.

Third, remove the low-cost mentality by raising the minimum wage to at least RM1,500. Fourth, remove the rigidity in human resource laws, allowing better mobility and movement of labour. Fifth, we must stop bringing in cheap migrant labour.

Allowing flexibility also means employees must be prepared to be more flexible and responsive to changes. The financial services industry is probably ahead of the rest.

The rise in income will also mean increased living costs, but the impact is less if productivity is higher.

It's a catch-22, but unless industries are willing to bite the bullet, we will always be in the middle-income trap. Ultimately, industry must reward their employees responsibly and equitably.

The Way It Was: We need to reduce the employment of migrant workers these greedy employers like to use to pad their profits. Hire our own local workers, and pay them accordingly, instead of resorting to low-cost migrant labour.

We will never make it to a high-wage and high-skill economy otherwise. It's a no-brainer that with better technical and vocational training, our local workers can be as skilled and productive as others.

Migrant labour brings with it multiple social, cultural and societal ills that burden our local populace and local infrastructure like hospitals, transit systems, retail traders, etc.

The Pakatan Harapan government needs to develop and manage a different mindset to enable the local workforce to achieve skills at different levels to complement what is needed for a high-wage and high-skill economy.

We can't have our locals earning 40 to 50 percent of what our neighbours are earning in comparable situations. How are we going to get ahead like this?

The Bank Negara governor’s statement is a move in the right direction and is to be applauded.

Anonymous_0cb0104a: Why do we still harbour the notion that foreign workers are cheaper than locals? Why do we feel that by increasing wages, we get higher productivity?

What I have seen so far is that the labour force is remunerated based on affordability. If the companies cannot get the efficiencies they need from their workforce, do you think they will pay more?

The serious businesses bring in foreign workers because they are as trainable as locals, will work for the pay given, and be around when needed.

We also have scenarios where local workers are undependable, take MCs whenever they feel like it, change jobs frequently, and not be seen sometimes for a few days, or on every Monday or Friday.

Those that are serious about working and being productive are normally remunerated well or adequately. So while we want local workers, migrant workers will get the skills needed to be productive and proactive, are they willing to sacrifice their initial ‘discomfort’ to gain in the long term.

Malaysia is no more a haven for multinationals to set up factories and companies. They prefer countries like Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, and soon Myanmar – not because labour is cheap, but because of the large consumer base and the easily trainable workforce.

Bank Negara compared us to developed nations that have stronger currencies, import goods from less developed countries, and focus more on services.

As for Taiwan and Korea, one needs to see how productive, innovative and efficient their workforce is to understand why they have done better.

They had less handouts, saw rock bottom when crises hit, and had no other choice than to work extremely hard to come out better than everyone else.

Malaysia Balu: @Anonymous_0cb0104a I couldn't agree with you more. In any other country, you get paid for what you work for.

An average worker here gets what seems like 100 days off, unlike any other country of similar standing, and job hopping is so rampant among locals that there is fear of training them.

At least with an overseas worker, you know you have them for three years. It's not just the multinationals that are subtly moving out, but many SMEs are doing the same.

Those who wish that migrant workers be removed and locals replace them with higher must be from planet Oz. Even contractors are having difficulties hiring locals.

The cost of a migrant worker is actually higher than hiring a local, but their quality and productivity generally are higher.

Anonymous 2460851488616887: Malaysia started its shift from agriculture to industry about the same time as Taiwan and South Korea. Where are we compared to them now?

The education system has been compromised because we lower standards to make ourselves feel good, we did not practice meritocracy in business, we continue to spoon feed certain groups, etc.

Wages reflect productivity you say? I say it does for now, unless drastic changes are made to address the flaws in our systems.

Gaji Buta: The argument that there is no need to raise wages as productivity has not increased is simply nonsense.

If that is a logical argument, then why are cost of products, food and services being increased by the same people without any change in quality or quantity?

In fact, many products, food and services are getting worse, and we pay more. If they think it is okay to ask for higher prices, then there is nothing wrong with workers asking for higher wages.

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