Malaysians Have Mixed Reactions To The New RM1,050 Nationwide Minimum Wage

The new rate comes into effect January 2019.

Cover image via GoBear/Edited by SAYS

On 5 September, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) announced a standardised minimum wage of RM1,050 to begin 1 January 2019

A copy of the press statement.

Image via Twitter @SumishaCNA

Previously, the Minimum Wage Order 2016 had set a salary of RM1,000 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 for East Malaysia.

The standardised rate, which will be RM5.05 per hour, was decided by the Cabinet with recommendations from the National Salary Consultative Council’s (MPGN).

Following the announcement, netizens have made known their dissatisfaction of the meagre increase

"So that's 208 hours per month. 6 days a week at RM40.40 per day. Enough kah? How to be a high income country by 2020?"

Image via Facebook

"Back then 8 years. McDonald per hour shift is RM5.00, teh tarik RM1.30. Next year's rate is RM5.05, teh tarik is RM1.90. YOU DO THE MATH!!"

Image via Facebook

"No wonder 150,000 to 200,000 crossed to Singapore to work on daily pay at S$60-80 per day equivalent to RM180-240. Even waking early and get caught in a jam at both Kastam/Immigration, the take home pay of RM4500-6000 compared to RM1050 is worth it."

Image via Facebook

Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin called the new figures "disappointing"

In a series of tweets, Khairy said a minimum wage of RM1,200 is "suitable and realistic for the first raise under the PH government" before claiming that the Government "is seen to be subject to the will of the employer and not to the workers".

Prior to the tweet, the MP shared that the minimum wage was introduced by ex-Prime Minister Najib Razak under Barisan Nasional's rule.

"The minimum salary issue is very complicated because it involves employers and workers," he added.

"The government needs to balance the interests of employers and employees. If the level is too high, it can affect the position of the employer. If it is too low, the fate of the workers is not maintained."

Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member S. Arutchelvan slammed the move as a "total sellout"

S. Arutchelvan.

Image via Astro Awani

In a comment piece for Malaysiakini, Arutchelvan wrote that PSM was "one of the groups invited for an emergency meeting by the Minimum Wage Council".

In the meeting, PSM had proposed that a minimum wage of RM1,500 be backdated to 1 July 2018 as a compulsory wage review is conducted every two years and the last one occurred on 1 July 2016.

Arutchelvan also said the employers had asked for an increase of RM50 starting from 1 January 2019, as was announced yesterday.

"It is no use having a wage council if the final decision is going to be made by the cabinet," he wrote.

"PSM calls for the members of the wage council to resign gracefully, because at the end of the day, it is only employers' voices which are being considered and heard."

However, some netizens chose to see the announced rate in a positive light

"If give too much, the employers will pass on the cost to consumers then inflation goes up. Then complain lagi..."

Image via Facebook

"This is about workers in Sabah and Sarawak who demand for equal salary as in Peninsular."

Image via Facebook

"If RM1,500, all the food prices will increase drastically as well."

Image via Facebook

Pakatan Harapan had previously pledged in their manifesto to set a nationwide minimum wage and increase the amount to RM1,500 in their first term

In its 100-day manifesto, Pakatan Harapan pledged to "equalise the minimum wage nationally and start the processes to increase the minimum wage".

Later on, it is expanded upon to explain that the minimum wage will be "raised to RM1,500 per month nationwide in the first term of the Pakatan Harapan Government" and that the rate will be reviewed "every two years".

The Government will also "share the cost difference of RM500 with the employer equally".

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