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MTUC’s May Day wish: RM1,200 minimum wage

 | April 27, 2015

Union turns to Prime Minister Najib Razak to make its wish come true on Friday.

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KUALA LUMPUR: Talks on a new minimum wage have failed after the National Wages Consultative Council had met for the third time and the unions were now turning to Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general N Gopal Krishnam said they want the government to fix the minimum wage at RM1,200 per month and are hoping Prime Minister Najib Razak would announce it on Labour Day this Friday.

The minimum wage for private sector workers was set in January 2013 at RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak. It must be reviewed every two years under the Minimum Wages Order 2012.

“We now hope the prime minister will make an announcement in his Labour Day message,” said Gopal Krishnam in a report carried by The Malaysian Insider.

There are about 14.2 million workers in private sector, including foreigners and most of those in the lowest income group are finding it difficult to cope with the increased cost of living especially after the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) was introduced on April 1, say unionists from both the private and public sectors.

Steve Shim Lip Kiong, the former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak, is the chairman of the wage council which has five representatives from the government, and 18 from among unionists, employers and economists.

Congress of Unions in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Azih Muda said a higher minimum wage is needed to help civil servants cope with the rising cost of living.

Azih said the average wage increase in the public sector was between 2% and 2.5% while the cost of living had increased from 8% to 10% when the GST was introduced.

Cuepacs, which said that about 40% of civil servants were earning about RM850, has been pushing since earlier this year to match the minimum wage of RM1,200 that has been mandated by law for the public sector employees.

Azih is also hoping Najib would announce a review of the 252 salary schemes and allowances of civil servants on Labour Day, or Worker’s Day, which is celebrated worldwide on May 1.


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