Kadir: Minimum wage a populist move

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PETALING JAYA: Veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin has defended his stance on the minimum wage policy, describing it as a populist move rather than a pure economic decision.

Speaking to FMT, Kadir said in some sectors, the productivity was insufficient to support the minimum wage, citing the example of childcare services.

Previously, Kadir had spoken against the policy, citing news reports that a majority of childcare centres were set to close shop as the minimum wage policy had put a strain on operational costs.

He said childcare centres catered to the lower and middle income families, and when their operating cost went up, they would not be sustainable.

“This is a classic example as to how the minimum wage is not sustainable, particularly in rural areas.”
“Where there is rising unemployment in certain sectors, the minimum wage looks more populist rather than a pure economic decision.”

Kadir said this was why the enforcement of minimum wage was contributing towards the death of sectors which were paying low wages.

On Monday, Kadir, a former group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times, said Prime Minister Najib Razak’s policies had caused untold damage to the economy and misery to the people.

He cited the minimum-wage policy, which had been carried out despite many employers lacking the ability to pay the prescribed rates.

However, veteran economist Yeah Kim Leng, as well as DAP lawmaker Charles Santiago and PSM leader S Arutchelvan disagreed with Kadir about the minimum wage.

Yeah said that the minimum wage was necessary and that businesses which were struggling needed to adapt.

Santiago and Arutchelvan meanwhile said wages in the country had been suppressed for a long time and that the minimum wage should actually be set at RM1,500.