NGOs call for rise in minimum wage in Labour Day march

Labour Day rally participants hold placards calling for higher minimum wage, rights for migrant workers and the disabled and freedom of the press.

KUALA LUMPUR: About 200 people walked from Maju Junction to Dataran Merdeka in conjunction with Labour Day today, demanding the government fulfil its election pledge to increase the minimum wage to RM1,500.

The rally was organised by a coalition of NGOs and human rights organisations to send a message to the government to fulfil its pledge and to stop discrimination against workers.

Nalini Murugiah.

The crowd held banners and chanted this year’s theme of “Increase wages, reduce discrimination”.

Rally coordinator Nalini Murugiah said the current minimum wage of RM1,100 was low, compared to the rising cost of living, and should be raised to RM1,500.

She said the coalition had highlighted 22 items in their declaration, such as protecting the rights of migrant workers, the disabled community and women.

PSM committee member Sarasvathy Muthu urged the government to implement the promised minimum wage as soon as possible.

A participant holds a poster reading ‘Students and workers unite against discrimination’.

“The gap between the poor and the rich is getting bigger but the minimum wage has hardly changed,” she said.

Former Universiti Malaya Association of New Youth (Umamy) president, Wong Yan Ke, said many students took part in today’s rally to show their support for a higher minimum wage and eradication of workplace discrimination.