Raise minimum wage to attract Malaysians to 3D jobs, MTUC tells Putrajaya

MTUC secretary-general J Solomon says the current minimum wage did not compensate for the type of work that 3D jobs entailed.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today urged the government to increase the minimum wage, saying that will help attract Malaysians to take up 3D (dirty, dangerous, difficult) jobs.

In response to Human Resources Minister M Saravanan calling on Malaysians to take up 3D jobs, MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said Putrajaya could do more to help the unemployed instead of just asking them to take up 3D jobs.

He said the current minimum wage did not compensate for the type of work that these jobs entailed, adding that it only benefitted employers who would reap high profits at the expense of lowly-paid workers, many of whom are migrants.

“Employers have taken advantage of this situation, leaving foreign workers at the mercy of their Malaysian bosses. This capitalist syndrome must change in order to give some dignity to workers doing these 3D jobs.

“For example, a CEO in a prominent Malaysian-owned company, who is the highest-paid CEO in Malaysia, earns 7,000 times more than the lowest-paid worker there.

“Yet, this same company chose to retrench 30% of its workforce during this pandemic instead of first slashing the wages of its top management to keep some jobs,” Solomon said in a statement today.

He also questioned Saravanan for the lack of initiative by top management in government agencies as well as politicians to take salary cuts during this devastating pandemic, saying MP allowances must be reduced as well.

“MPs should reduce their allowance and stop the pensions they are entitled to for every term as an elected representative. Why should they be paid more than one pension for every term of five years as an MP or state assemblymen?

“In addition, those holding ministerial posts are given another pension. Civil servants only get one pension even if they serve more than 30 years. It is absolutely ridiculous that Cabinet members are given more than one pension, especially after enjoying tax-free allowances for decades.

“What about all the MPs who have been appointed as GLC heads recently? They are getting all the MP allowances in addition to the GLC emoluments which can add up to more than RM40,000 a month.

“This is immoral when compared with what a poor labourer who does hard and risky jobs day-in day-out earns,” he said.

Solomon added that Putrajaya owed it to poor workers to increase the minimum wage urgently, adding that it should also be converted to a living wage to reflect the actual cost of living.

“By letting the wages remain at the current rate, it would cause the unemployment rate to further rise while employers hire more foreign workers and even undocumented migrants to increase their profit margins.”

In December last year, the Pakatan Harapan government mandated a RM1,200 monthly minimum wage in 57 cities and towns starting Jan 1, 2020. Outside of these areas, the existing RM1,100 rate applies.