Raising minimum wage: Don’t leave out university graduates, says MTUC

Halim says the government should not forget graduates, both local and foreign in its move to give better benefit to certain groups.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged the government not to leave out university graduates in its proposal to raise the minimum wage of Malaysian skilled workers to RM3,500 to match what foreigners get.

MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor said it would be unfair to give a higher minimum wage to graduates from technical and vocational education training (TVET) programmes and not to university graduates who are degree and masters holders.

“It is a good intention (to raise the minimum wage for skilled workers) but we should study the overall context and apply any increase to all.

“Currently, the minimum wage for university graduates, regardless of what course they take, is RM1,400 to RM2,000 for degree holders and not more than RM3,000 for masters holders.

“Is it right for TVET graduates to enjoy higher minimum wage than those who graduate with higher qualifications? This is what we should be studying,” he told FMT.

Halim was commenting on Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s suggestion that the minimum wage for Malaysian skilled workers be set at RM3,500, up from the present RM1,200.

Zahid said the higher wage was to match the minimum wage of migrant skilled workers in the country.

It would also encourage more young Malaysians to take up technical and vocational education and training (TVET), he said when opening the inaugural TVET Expo at Putra World Trade Centre on Thursday.

Zahid said paying migrant skilled workers RM3,500 was unfair to the locals.

Halim said the government should not forget Malaysian university graduates, both local and foreign, in its move to give better benefit to certain groups.

He also said there should be space for discussion involving all players in the industry — employers, employees and the government.

“This is because the wages would be paid by employers, so they have the right to be involved in any decision and state what they think will fit in the current market.

“If there is no agreement from all, it will be impossible to implement it,” he said.