"It Has Taken The Govt More Than 20 Years To Realise Why We Are Deprived Of A Living Wage"

A recent BNM study has shown that single adult should be earning RM2,700 a month to achieve the minimum acceptable standard of living.

Cover image via The Malay Mail

Last week, BNM introduced the concept of "living wage" which comprises of three major pillars

According to BNM's 2017 Annual Report, in order to achieve the minimum standard of living, a household's monthly wage must be adequate for the ability to meaningfully participate in society, the opportunity for personal and family development, and the freedom from severe financial stress.

Based on a study in 2016, the living wage in Kuala Lumpur ranges from RM2,700 a month for an individual, to RM6,500 monthly for a couple with two children.

Unfortunately, many Malaysians fall short of the recommended household income by BNM. Yesterday, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said that it is the government's fault for the influx of foreign workers in the country, resulting in lower wages for locals

MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said in his letter to Malaysiakini yesterday, 4 April, "It surprises us that the government took more than 20 years to realise that Malaysian workers are deprived of the RM2,700 minimum wage recommended by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) due to the huge dependency on foreign workers."

He said unions have been pointing out to the government regarding the huge number of foreign workers in our country for years.

MTUC said, "The government cannot blame anyone but themselves for the problems caused by excess foreign workers"

Solomon added, "Just three years ago the government made an announcement to bring in another 1.5 million foreign workers.

"This influx of foreign workers has caused extreme depression to Malaysians in the B40 and M40 category whose right to job opportunities and a decent livelihood were robbed from them for the last 20 years."

The umbrella body of unions welcomes the calls to automate business but Solomon notes that it does not affect labour intense sectors where the dependency on foreign workers is higher

Image via 88razi

Instead, the utilisation of technology will mostly impact the service sectors, where a huge number of Malaysians are working in.

He added, "The government and the employers from the service sectors are aggressively using technology to the extent of laying off Malaysians who have served them for many years and replacing Malaysian graduates with foreign graduates without giving any opportunities for these Malaysian workers to prosper.

"The service sector is in the position to set an example by introducing the RM2,700 as recommended by the Bank Negara Malaysia as most service providers are profiting in the billions, not millions. But unfortunately, the wealth is not shared equitably."

MTUC urged the government to ensure banks and GLCs to lead the way by providing the minimum wage of RM2,700 to employees as there are no foreign workers in banks and the industry has already been using automation and technology since 1980s

Based on JobStreet Malaysia’s 2017 Salary Report, salaries for entry-level positions in the banking industry in the central region of Malaysia can start as low as RM2124 up to as high as RM2966 while junior executives can expect to earn between RM2629 between RM3959.

His letter to Malaysiakini was a response to Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani, who told employers to hire less foreign workers and utilise technology to meet the minimum recommended wage of RM2,700


According to Free Malaysia Today, Johari said, "If we want to ensure this country can afford the minimum wage that Bank Negara has indicated, we need to give more attention to automating all our businesses.

"You can’t rely anymore on foreign workers, and we have to reduce the number of foreign workers in all industries that rely on them."

Do you agree or disagree with MTUC that the influx of foreign workers has caused locals to earn less? Let us know in the comment section below

Authorities have been clamping down on foreign workers working as front liners in the service industry:

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