IPOH: The plan to study the possibility of setting a more realistic minimum wage according to business sectors is meant for the future, says Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran.
He said his remark on the matter in Sabah recently had been misunderstood and that the government had no intention to change the current minimum wage of RM1,100.
“For now, it cannot be less than RM1,100 and we will take action against any employer who refuses to pay this.
“For the future, the minimum wage committee will take the matter into consideration.
“From a legal point of view, the minimum wage will be reviewed every two years,” he said after giving a motivational talk at an Industrial Revolution 4.0 and TVET seminar at the Industrial Training Institute here yesterday.
During a meeting with the Sabah chapter of the Malaysian Employers Federation last week, Kulasegaran said the government would look into the possibility of setting a more realistic minimum wage according to the 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.
Based on feedback, he said some employers found the increase was too steep and led to higher cost of operations.
In 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.
On TVET, Kulasegaran urged parents to change the perception of sending their children for TVET, saying the country needed more people with technical skills.
“In Germany for example, primary school pupils are no longer aiming to go to universities.
“It’s not their priority any more and it has changed to taking up technical training courses,” he said.
Kulasegaran said about 95% of those who completed their TVET courses had jobs waiting for them.
“The remaining 5% do not want to work, it’s not a lack of jobs,” he said, adding the current unemployment rate among Malaysian youths was about 10%.