The statement by Bank Negara Malaysia governor Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus that the new minimum wage policy should be implemented progressively can be described as shallow and regressive.
I want to ask them, why were they lacking in “advice” when the Perikatan Nasional and Barisan Nasional governments delayed the minimum wage hike in 2021?
Why didn’t BNM refer to the original plan by the Pakatan Harapan government to raise the minimum wage progressively which would have seen wages rise to RM1,500 as well but without the sudden rise that can disrupt growth.
The time to adjust was already in the PH plan, but it was not followed. So where was BNM then when a workable policy was ignored? Why didn’t they advise the government to implement the staggered rise in 2021 and 2022?
Is BNM releasing this statement down as an aide to the BN government that is reluctant to raise the minimum wage?
Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Noh Omar has recently said that the implementation of the RM1,500 minimum wage rule for micro-entrepreneurs is still under discussion. So BNM is aiding that argument, which is irresponsible to all Malaysians that deserve better wages.
Has BNM forgotten that they themselves had previously defined the living wage, in 2018, as the level of income needed for a household to afford a minimum acceptable standard of living and indicated that the living wage in Kuala Lumpur for a single adult was RM2,700. For a couple without a child, it would be RM4,500, and for a couple with two children, it would be RM6,500.
Yet they are aiding an attempt to prevent the rise of the minimum wage to even RM1,500. Is BNM going against their own findings?
BNM should always remember that while they speak for the government and employers, employees are also part of their stakeholders, they must never forsake their interest.
I urge BNM to retract their statement and come out with more progressive ideas like that of Singapore’s Progressive Wage Model (PWM), where it cultivates a drive to increase wages of workers through upgrading skills and improving productivity.
Enough of moving backwards, BNM. If we do not do something, we can soon see our workers working in countries like Vietnam and Indonesia where wages have drastically improved over the years.
M. Kula Segaran
MP Ipoh Barat