A PAKATAN Harapan MP has called on the government to review the minimum wage increment immediately, citing the RM50 bump as an “insult to 15 million labourers in Malaysia”.
Klang MP Charles Santiago said he was shocked over the recent announcement, adding that it contradicted PH’s manifesto.
“Anyone who goes to the wet markets, where prices are supposed to be way cheaper than supermarkets, or walks into a clinic for a common cold would know that no one can live on RM262.50 a week,” he said in a statement.
Charles noted that if the minimum wage were to be reviewed every two years, it would still be impossible for the government to raise the minimum wage to RM1,500 within the next five years.
He also pointed out according to the Bank Negara 2017 Annual Report, the expenditure of the bottom 40% (B40) of Malaysian households expanded at a faster pace compared to their income.
“Looking into the low wage conundrum, it proposed a living wage benchmark to allow for an acceptable living standard,” Charles said, adding that Bank Negara estimated the living wage in Kuala Lumpur in 2016 to be about RM2,700 for a single adult, RM4,500 for a couple without children and RM6,500 for a couple with two children.
Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah echoed Charles’ statement, noting that the RM50 increase is not satisfactory and is not enough to alleviate the burden of the poor.
“An increase of RM50 could not possibly make a huge impact on the needy, including the B40 group and the urban poor community,” she said in a statement.
Maria noted that if Malaysia aims to be a developed country, the government needs to ensure no one is marginalised.
The Prime Minister’s Office had said in a statement on Wednesday that Malaysia would have a uniformed minimum wage of RM1,050 per month or RM5.05 per hour beginning Jan 1, 2019.
It said the decision was made following recommendations by the National Wage Consultative Council (MPGN).
Charles called on the government to make public the NWCC report, as well as the forecast on the impact of implementation of minimum wage at RM1,500.
He called on Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to provide an explanation for the minimum wage rate of RM1,050.
Meanwhile, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) central committee member S. Arutchelvan vented his frustration over the announcement.
He labelled it as “a total sell out and humiliation to the low-income workers of Malaysia.”
“During Mahathir’s 22 years as a Prime Minister (in the past), he never allowed a minimum wage law to be legislated,” he said, claiming that when minimum wages was legalised in 2012, Mahathir was not happy.
He also called on other Pakatan leaders to speak their minds over the issue.