Kula defends statement on different minimum wages according to sectors

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran says the law stipulates that several factors are taken into consideration when deciding on the minimum wage. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Defending his statement about having different minimum wages for different sectors, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran today said he was merely following the recommendations of the National Wages Consultative Council Act (NWCC) 2011.

The minister had yesterday said that Putrajaya would look into setting different minimum wages according to sectors after taking into account the current realities of each sector and those that might not be able to sustain the increased rates.

Shedding light on the NWCC criteria, he said it recommended minimum wage rates and also that other factors could be considered when deciding the rates.

“Under (Act 732), in Sect 22(b), the coverage of recommended minimum wage rates can be according to sectors, type of employment and regional areas,” he told reporters after holding a dialogue with members of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) at Petaling Jaya today.

He, however, said the council, chaired by Steve Shim Lip Kiong, would now look into the matter and give the government their recommendations based on their tour across the nation and town hall sessions.

“They will give me recommendations, and then I will present it to the Cabinet.”

He also said he would consider including FMM in policy making for the human resources sector.

Previously, Kula had said his ministry was looking into more “relevant” basic salaries for different sectors such as plantations, hotels and coffee shops.

He said members of the Malaysian Employers Federation had told him that employers who could not afford the minimum wage had been forced to reduce their number of workers or even close shop.

On another matter, he said his ministry was looking into increasing the intake of foreign workers into the country, adding there were fewer foreign workers in some sectors, especially manufacturing.

“Right now, the process of importing foreign workers is being handled by the human resources ministry and the home affairs ministry.

“However, soon there will be one ministry to decide the intake of foreign workers in the country and the matter will be discussed with concerned ministries this Thursday.”