New RM1,500 minimum wage soon, but in stages

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KUALA LUMPUR: The revised minimum wage will be announced soon, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

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Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan however said the implementation of the RM1,500 minimum monthly wage from RM1,200 would be done in stages.

“The government has in principle agreed that the minimum wage in the country should be increased to RM1,500. However, we’re in the midst of finalising the matter including to address current challenges before it can be implemented.

“We don’t want companies to take advantage (of the increased minimum wage announcement) to reduce the number of employees. This will defeat its purpose while we are aiming to further reduce the country’s unemployment rate from 4.2 per cent to 4 per cent,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim (Baling-BN-Umno).

Saravanan assured that the announcement on the revised minimum wage would be made soon, rather than at the end of the year as previously reported.

The minimum monthly wage in 57 cities and towns in Malaysia is set at RM1,200 and RM1,100 for areas not considered part of cities and towns.

Earlier, Saravanan said the government had received requests by several parties to expedite the implementation of the increased minimum wage due to the current economic situation and rising costs of living.

He said the new minimum wage would be implemented after taking into consideration the people’s needs and employers’ capabilities.

“The country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was reported at 3.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2021.

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“This growth was made possible with the financial assistance by the government to the employers in ensuring they were able to continue business operations and retain their workers,” he said in reply to a question from M. Kulasegaran (Ipoh Barat- PH-DAP).

The country’s economic growth was projected at between 5.5 and 6.5 per cent this year, based on the 2022 Budget, Saravanan said.

He said the government has decided to expedite the implementation of the new minimum as the country’s economy has seen positive growth, with many businesses showing recoveries.

“The government stresses that the increment on the minimum wage should be done in stages.

“This is to ensure sustainability of companies’ operations and employees to be retained.”

He said any drastic increment could affect the country’s competitiveness and impact the labour force that would face challenges to produce highly-skilled new employment with quality.

The minimum wage issue was also raised by Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh (Besut-BN-Umno), Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman (Muar-Muda) and Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir (Setiu-Pas).-NST