PETALING JAYA: The private sector felt letdown today after most of the goodies in Budget 2017 were channeled to the public sector, leading Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Gopal Kishnam to lament that they were neglected.
Gopal said there was “nothing for the private sector”, pointing to the lack of cost-of-living allowances (COLA), among others.
“We expected the government to advise private sector employers to consider giving their employees COLA. RM300 is already being given to the public sector employees,” he said.
“We expected personal relief on income tax, which is standing at 9 per cent at the moment, but there was nothing,” Gopal told FMT.
He also bemoaned the lack of standardisation for the recently implemented minimum wage, pointing to the disparity between Peninsular and East Malaysia.
“We were expecting it to be standardised this year. It’s a big letdown,” he said.
The Minimum Wages Order 2016, which came into effect on July 1, 2016, set the monthly minimum wage from RM900 to RM1,000 for Peninsular Malaysia and from RM800 to RM920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
Meanwhile Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan was wary over the government’s plans to allocate RM50 million to increase employability of graduates and to extend the 1Malaysia training scheme (SL1M) to 20,000 graduates in 2017.
Last year, the target set was 15,000 graduates.
While he praised the initiative, Shamsuddin said that training should be given to private employers as well.
“It should not be restricted to GLCs as their capacity to train 20,000 graduates a year may be challenged.”