Kulasegaran (third right) interacts with a trader at Emart Commercial Centre in Tudan during his working visit yesterday. At second and fourth right are Ling and Dr Ting respectively.
MIRI: The implementation of the new RM1,200 monthly minimum wage in 57 city and municipal councils in the country on Feb 1 applies to both local and foreign workers.
“We cannot discriminate local or foreign employees and this (new rule) must be applied equally to everybody,” Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran told reporters during a working visit to Emart Commercial Centre, here yesterday.
He said the idea of minimum wage is so that ordinary workers will have the bargaining power through minimum salary to put food on the table.
“As we all know, many Malaysians do not earn RM1,100 or RM1,200 – they earn more than that. So this is to ensure that basic salary is given and be effective from Feb 1, 2020,” he added.
In Sarawak, the minimum wage rule will take place in Kuching North, Kuching South, Padawan, Sibu, Kota Samarahan, Bintulu and Miri.
The minister also said that the federal government will not make drastic increases in the minimum wage, as it wants to provide employers the chance to adjust to the new rate.
He stressed that businesses must make the necessary adjustment as the minimum wage rate was not “plucked from thin air”, but rather decided after numerous consultations with stakeholders such as state governments, unions, employers, individuals, relevant authorities and others.
Kulasegaran said his ministry will be conducting a survey this year to see how businesses are performing in light of the new minimum wage and how they can improve.
“We hope employers can be more generous as the employees also need to live. We must understand why a lot of Malaysians are working in Singapore and they are doing 3D (dangerous, dirty and difficult) jobs. This is because their salary is far too low, so we need to take care of that.”
Joining Kulasegaran on his working visit were Senator Alan Ling and Pujut assemblyman Dr Ting Tiong Choon.