Employers trying to frustrate implementation of minimum wage

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Many employers are trying to be ‘smart’ and doing all kinds of things to defeat the plan to provide fair wages to workers, notes Charles Hector.

A workers' protest in Malaysia
A workers’ protest in Malaysia

The very reason that the government had to step in and fix a minimum wage was that employers were paying the workers low and unjust wages.

It is said that over 3m workers received wages less than RM700 – that is, way below the poverty line income of RM800.

Then the order came out and as of January workers were to receive minimum wages of RM900 (that is basic wage not including overtime and all other allowances) but alas many employers are being ‘smart’ and doing all kinds of actions to defeat the intention of the government that workers receive fair wages .

And the sad thing is that the government does not seem to be taking action. Workers are complaining … protesting, picketing and some even are on ‘strike’ and this involves all workers, including migrant workers. 

There seem to be a ‘media blackout’ and news of these protest actions just do not get media coverage – and the government is not doing much.

See, for instance, this Sinar Harapan report: ‘100 pekerja tuntut kenaikan gaji’.

Charles Hector, an Aliran member, is a human rights lawyer based in Temerloh, Pahang.

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