Govt urged to initiate minimum wage reform – SPCAAM

NILAM NUR ATIKAH OSHMAN
05 Jun 2023 04:29pm
The government needs to initiate the systematic reforms by introducing a realistic minimum wage in this country, SPCAAM says. Photo for illustrative purpose only. - FILE PIC
The government needs to initiate the systematic reforms by introducing a realistic minimum wage in this country, SPCAAM says. Photo for illustrative purpose only. - FILE PIC
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SHAH ALAM - The government needs to initiate systematic reforms by introducing a realistic minimum wage and not expect the business community to fix it themselves.

The Social Protection Contributors Advisory Association Malaysia (SPCAAM) International Labour Adviser Callistus Antony D'Angelus said the government must lead the reforms to ensure the trade union has the appropriate rights and to prosecute employers who abuse foreign workers.

"There is nothing to be expected from the business community in matters mentioned by the Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar, who said salary needs to be increased to attract local labours to fill about 800,000 local jobs.

"This is because they are accustomed to decades of being allowed and driven to suppress the salary rate until the economic environment makes no sense for Malaysians to work in such jobs.

"Foreign workers, including those who were abused and denied human rights, are brought in to work at a salary rate that Malaysians cannot accept.

“In this way, businesses can reduce costs and abuse workers, all of which may appear legal," he said in a statement today.

Yesterday, Sivakumar reportedly said employers needed to offer attractive facilities and increase the salary rate.

He said statistics showed that more than 1.18 million Malaysians worked in Singapore, while in overall, there were a total of 1.8 million Malaysian who were employed abroad.

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Therefore, he said, employers should see this as a sign that Malaysians were not short of manpower.

He said this when asked about his opinions on complaints from employers who faced difficulties in achieving the 80:20 ratio for local and foreign workers.

Furthermore, Callistus urged any employers found to be abusing foreign workers, for example by holding onto their passports and detained them at their house needed to be held accountable for these crimes.

"The foreign worker business in Malaysia is a modern-day slave trade business.

"Along the way, many corrupt people would make a lot of money through this institutionalised exploitative mechanism," he said.

He said the administration of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was headed in the right direction, thus it was best to focus on the issue now.

However, he stressed that Sivakumar needed to see whether his ministry had a direct role in the matter or not.

"An indirect consequence of abusing foreign workers is that Malaysians have been denied the right to earn a decent living and job opportunities.

"Due to this situation, more Malaysians will seek job opportunities abroad while foreign workers will continue to be brought in to be exploited and abused by Malaysian employers.

"Only with appropriate regulations can this situation be restored. The Human Resources Ministry should start taking actions instead of just issuing statements and appealing to the business community," he said.