PUTRAJAYA: Workers can rejoice because there will be an increase in the minimum wage but not as high as that promised in Pakatan Harapan’s election manifesto.
The new government had said last week that it may put off that pledge for now but the Human Resources Ministry now says the new minimum wage for the private sector will be announced by August.
Its minister M. Kulasegaran said the National Wage Legislative Technical Committee (JTPGN) has completed the review process of the minimum wages.
“The JTPGN is ready to recommend a new minimum wage rate to the National Wage Consultative Council (MPGN).
“The council will be having a meeting on June 13 to discuss this,” said Kulasegaran at a press conference after his ministry’s monthly assembly here.
The next step, said Kulasegaran, is for his ministry to prepare a Cabinet memorandum, so that the Government can make a decision.
“As of today, I can only announce that the new minimum wage for the private sector is undergoing a review process, and if it is approved, it will be announced by the Government in August latest,” he said.
Standardising the minimum wage across Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan is one of the 10 election pledges made by Pakatan, which it promised to fulfil in 100 days.
Currently, the minimum wage in Peninsular Malaysia is RM1,000 while in East Malaysia, it is set at RM920.
Pakatan had pledged to set the minimum wage at RM1,500, but Kulasegaran admits that it is difficult for the Government to achieve it soon.
“We had set the minimum wage as RM1,500 in our manifesto. We will definitely achieve that figure, but the quantum of increase for now is being discussed.
“There won’t be a decrease. But it has to be a win-win situation for the government, employers and unions. Expectations are high, but unfortunately it is not very easy as we have limitations,” said Kulasegaran.
On another matter, Kulasegaran said the ministry is working on a mechanism that will allow 1.2 million housewives in the country to be eligible for Social Security Organisation (Socso) insurance coverage.
“It is a small number, but it gives them (housewives) assurance that they are equal like any other citizen, and that their contributions in society are recognised.
“A lot of women at home are doing fundamentally far more important jobs than working women,” said Kulasegaran.