PETALING JAYA: The National Wage Consultative Council Act 2011 provides that minimum wage can be paid according to the criteria comprising sectors, types of employment and regional areas, says Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.
“A lot of people don’t understand, we have the council and if you look at the Act, the sectors are one (of the criteria) that can be taken into account (when deciding minimum wage),” he said.
He dismissed views that the Pakatan Harapan government has made a U-turn in the minimum wage policy.
“It is in the Act, the criteria. I did not pluck it out of thin air.
“When we come for meetings like these, some suggest we must take the regional areas into consideration,” he said after attending a dialogue session with the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) here yesterday.
He said that the matter is for the Cabinet to decide and the guidelines should be adhered to when it comes to deciding minimum wage.
During a meeting with the Sabah chapter of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) on Monday, Kulasegaran said the government will look into the possibility of setting a more realistic minimum wage according to business sector.
He said the current minimum wage of RM920 to RM1,100 was across the board for all sectors, with some businesses finding it too high and having to close some outlets or lay off workers.
The minister said based on feedback, some employers found the increase was too steep and led to higher cost of operations.
Kulasegaran said the next review on minimum wage will be done within the next two years.
“For now, it is standardised and applicable to everyone,” he added.
Earlier, Kulasegaran said FMM had expressed its intentions to be more involved in policy-making decisions with the ministry.
Currently, the ministry holds tripartite meetings involving the MEF, MTUC and the government.
Last November, the government raised the minimum wage from RM1,050 to RM1,100 starting Jan 1, 2019.
The government had initially announced in September that the minimum wage would be increased to RM1,050 nationwide in 2019, but workers were unhappy with the quantum.
Previously, the minimum wage was RM1,000 in the peninsula and RM920 in Sabah and Sarawak.