Minimum wage: Decision on inclusions next week

KUALA LUMPUR: THE government is unlikely to backdate the implementation even if the Cabinet agrees to a proposal to include several costs and the RM1,250 annual levy into the minimum wages.

Effective January 1, employers must pay a minimum wage of RM900 a month in Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 a month in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam noted that having a national minimum wage in Malaysia is a new development and as such, there are bound to be some difficulties. 

He noted the government is determined to transform the economy to be less reliant on cheap labour. "At the same time, we also take note of employers' burden." 

All along, employers from the manufacturing and plantation sectors are already providing free housing, water, electricity and healthcare for its workers.

In view of the minimum wage law coming into force, employers from the manufacturing and plantation sectors have appealed that the subsidies that they have been providing for their workers be included in the minimum wage.

"With this in mind, the Cabinet will decide on what is to be included in the calculation of minimum wages next Wednesday," he told reporters after the launch of the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda celebrations here yesterday.

Asked if there is a need for the government to re-gazette the new way of calculating minimum wages, Subramaniam replied, "no, there is no need to".

To another query if the Cabinet would backdate its decision should it agree to the proposals put forth by employers, the Human Resources minister shook his head and said, "unlikely".

Asked if this essentially means daily-waged workers who had received RM34.62 a day since 1st January get to keep their salary, he nodded in agreement.