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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Build more affordable homes in Penang

Athi Shankar | May 1, 2014

Workers earning RM3,000 to RM5,000 monthly cannot afford to buy houses in Penang today, says MTUC.

BUTTERWORTH: The Penang branch of Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) wants both the federal and state governments to build more affordable homes for lower income workers in the state.

Its chairman S Ravindran said both governments should also improve the public transportation system to reduce the cost burden of workers.

He cited that even workers earning RM3,000 to RM5,000 monthly cannot afford to buy houses in Penang today.

“More affordable homes should be available for lower income workers.

“Public transportation, especially buses, should be more efficient, affordable and reliable.

“This would reduce the cost burden of already squeezed low income workers in Penang,” said Ravindran during the state-level MTUC May Day rally

This year’s rally, dubbed as the anti-GST rally, was held from 10am until 12pm in an open space at Jalan Siram – Jalan Telaga Air junction here today.

Some 400 workers turned out for the rally, holding placards and banners calling on the federal government to withdraw the implementation of Goods and Service Tax (GST) for it would add to the cost burden of the workers.

MTUC already submitted a memorandum to Putrajaya demanding the withdrawal of GST citing solid reasons, said Ravindran.

“We want the government to meet and discuss the issue with us.

“This is something that we had never experienced before. Suddenly the government wants to introduce 6% GST. We want GST withdrawn,” he demanded.

Other MTUC demands to the government were to increase the minimum wage from current RM900 to RM1,500 per month; introduce cost of living allowance (Cola) of RM300 monthly to workers in private sector; increase petrol subsidy; subsidise medical treatment and essential food items; and reduce cost of basic utilities.

Ravindran said it was social responsibility and public duty of governments at all levels to implement policies to ease the cost of living and provide free and affordable basic amenities, facilities and utilities to the people.

“Workers are the backbone of the country. Their welfare and well-being must emphasised with utmost importance in public policies,” insisted Ravindran.

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