January 22, 2014
FMT LETTER: From Sivaranjani, via e-mail
Jerit urges the government to not show any sympathy or mercy to the employers’ on the issue of minimum wage. The statement by Malaysia Employer Federation (MEF) reported in The Sun is baseless as it’s already more than a year since the announcement of the implementation of minimum wage policy by the government. We strongly view that the ample time has been given to the employers to implement minimum wage.
The minimum wage which should have been implemented in January 2013 was deferred due to the claims by the employers that they are not ready. Moreover, the government exercised so much of flexibility in favour of the employers such as exempting companies with less than 5 workers from implementing minimum wage. The allowances (like meals and transportation allowances) were included in the calculation of minimum wage. Migrants workers were not paid minimum wage since March 2013 although the initial plan was the minimum wage is for all workers.
So, no more excuses now! It’s time to punish the employers who fail to implement the provisions under the Minimum Wage Order. The punishment of fine RM10,000 per worker upon the conviction and RM20, 000 fine or five year‘s imprisonment for subsequent offences is the right decision to ensure the employers comply with the minimum wage order.
On the issue of the difficulty faced by SMEs’ in the implementation of minimum wage, in fact Jerit and Party Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) jointly submitted a memorandum to the Human Resource Ministry on Oct 24, 2013 and recommended the Government to allocate financial assistance to SME’s for a short term period in order to reduce their burden so the SMEs could implement the minimum wage policy without much hassle.
However, the minimum wage policy was brought in to implementation after years and years of study. Employers have to find their way to sort out their financial management, as the employer knows all the tricks or maneuver to make profit.
As the promised by the Government, 2014 is the year of 100% implementation of the minimum wage. Jerit once again warns the Government to not make any more U-turns in its decision. No more compromise on workers wage. No more ‘kow tow’ to the employers. As we all are aware, price of goods and services have been increasing. The electric tariff has just gone up. There will be hike in toll, school bus fare, public transportation in matter of time. In addition, Good and Service Taxes (GST) will be enforced on April 1, 2015.
So, it is the time to implement minimum wage to ensure rakyat live decent a life and not bend down to the employer’s call. 100% implementation of minimum wage now!
The writer is Jerit coordinator