Kula dismisses criticisms on wage deduction proposal

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran with (from left) Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general J Solomon, MTUC president Halim Mansor, Malaysian Employers Federation president Azman Harun and Cuepacs president Azih Muda at the National Labour Advisory Council meeting.

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran insists his idea to cut 20% from the foreign workers’ basic salaries will be a win-win situation for both workers and employers.

He was responding to criticism from a rights group, who said that the proposal to cut workers’ salary was against human rights principles.

“It is incumbent on us to ensure that they (foreign workers) have something to take home after they have completed their contract work here.

“Our technical committee in the National Labour Advisory Council is looking into the idea holistically and whether this can be approved,” Kula said, after chairing the council’s meeting with stakeholders at the Parliament building here today.

He said foreign workers were considered a vulnerable group, and the authorities should give them more protection.

Kula also said the wage deduction could serve as a check-and-balance mechanism against employers.

“We can take action against them (errant employers),” he said, adding that several laws such as the Employment Act and Employees Social Security (Sosco) Act may need to be amended to enable companies to make the necessary deductions.

However, Kula said he would meet with the council members again on Jan 29 to decide on whether to implement the wage deduction.

Yesterday, Kula said the 20% salary deduction could prevent foreign workers from fleeing and could avoid employers from incurring losses on their investments in the workers.

He said the reduction could be channelled to the foreign workers’ Social Security Organisation (Socso) accounts and they could take the money when they leave Malaysia.