Guan Eng: Minimum wage not enough to improve living standards

By Clara Chooi
The Malaysian Insider
Apr 14, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — Lim Guan Eng told Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today that his much-awaited minimum wage policy was insufficient to improve living standards without total reforms to the country’s economy, education and workforce policies.

The Penang Chief Minister said the new wage floor of RM1,100, to be announced this April 30, must come hand in hand with higher productivity jobs, increased female participation in the workforce and “accelerated structural reforms” to the economy aimed at reducing corruption and plucking leakages.

However, Lim added that although the new wage floor to be announced by Najib was purportedly due to opposition pressure, DAP would welcome the announcement.

Malaysians, he added, have “high expectations” of Najib.

“Malaysia is in sore need of structural economic reforms to make us more competitive, transparent, efficient as well as reduce leakages caused by wastage and corruption.

“Structural economic reforms such as open competitive tenders, full disclosure of contracts and personal assets of Ministers as well as a performance-based delivery system must carried out,” he said in his Tamil and Vaisakhi new year message today.

Lim added that to create higher productivity jobs, the country’s education system must also undergo reforms to build better human talent.

He again slammed Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin for the latter’s recent claim that Malaysia’s education standards were superior to that of the UK’s, Germany and US, saying the latter was in “denial syndrome”.

“The Malaysian education system is in crisis. Unless we can inject merit and performance back into our education system, Malaysia risks being left behind by neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam,” he said,

On increasing women participation in the workforce, Lim said this could only be achieved if there is no gender discrimination in salaries and promotion opportunities.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said on Tuesday that negotiations over a minimum wage policy have ended Najib will announce the government’s decision on April 30.

The umbrella body representing 800,000 workers from 390 labour unions had told a press conference that last month’s National Wages Consultative Council meeting was the last round for stakeholders to air their views and it is now up to Putrajaya to decide on a final policy.

“There are no more talks after this. The Attorney-General will look through the legal aspects and the Cabinet will decide,” MTUC president Khalid Atan said.

He added that the prime minister is expected to announce the policy in a live television broadcast on the eve of Labour Day.

Najib had said on April 2 he will announce a floor wage policy by the end of the month despite stakeholders still deadlocked over whether benefits can be considered part of a floor wage.

The Malaysian Insider reported that employers and workers argued in a recent National Wages Consultative Council meeting over whether allowances and other benefits can be included as part of a base wage expected to be set at RM900 and RM800 for Peninsular and East Malaysia respectively.

The committee, which advises the government on wage policy, had met on the back of small-medium industries (SMIs) warning that 80 per cent of active businesses could fold under a blanket floor wage, cutting four million jobs from the labour market.

  1. #1 by monsterball on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 8:38 pm

    Suddenly UMNO b’s Vision 2020 is all forgotten.
    And Mahathir’s “Transparency, Accountability & Unity” became just the opposite…..yet that man keep blaming others.
    Who in the world will deny his other half bloodline..except Mahathir?
    Half Indian…is a mamak feeling so shameful?

  2. #2 by monsterball on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 8:42 pm

    UMNO b love to see the poor getting poorer Malaysians and kowtow to them for hands out like beggars.
    Imagine an ordinary doctor like Mahathir.. having super duper children..all became billionaires.
    He is a man from Mars or a devil reincarnated…pick your choice.

  3. #3 by monsterball on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 8:48 pm

    We must change the Govt….. get more foreign investors have confidence in Malaysia….investing billions…and our export increases to be active and churn in more funds…with lots of jobs for Malaysians.
    Continue with UMNO b it is always balancing an act…that they created with their evil deeds…sealing billions and as much as they can.
    UMNO b Govt. is a rouge government.

  4. #4 by tak tahan on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 10:23 pm

    LGE,please save you breath for those idiots and instead share your wisdom with Anwar when PR captured Putrajaya.Those moronic rascals are incapable of change judging from their past and present bad records.They only care for themselves and nothing else matters to them not even the well-being of the poor people.They could only see money,money,money and the last thing they see before they close their eyes and rest in peace also the money.CAT is nothing to them when compare with the condo-cow from NFC.Cow has now become the most sacred idol for them than the Indian community.So no need to talk till the cows come home because they will never-they will be on the very next flight with their masters when the GE13 is calling.Stay focus and ganbatte(work harder)!

  5. #5 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 10:49 pm

    OK, Guan Eng.

    Organise State-sponsored soup and food kitchens.

    Let Penang be the first state to ensure that all its residents will never be hungry or thirsty.

    No need to dish out money. Just dish out food and soup for the needy.

  6. #6 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Saturday, 14 April 2012 - 11:07 pm

    Where did you say Najib studied Economics ?…Which university… again?

    Well, there are economics students and there are economic clowns and charlatans. Ahoi, Najib, balik university untul Economics 101-lah.

  7. #7 by sheriff singh on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 1:27 am

    University of Rotting Ham. How about you?

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 3:51 am

    ahCHEATkor n UmnoB/BN going round giving out rakyat’s $$$ 2 rakyat 2 bribe them 2 vote 4 UmnoB/BN in d next GE
    ahCHEATkor has nothing much 2 convince rakyat dat he has achieved much
    Only by giving $$$: Gua kasih $$$, Lu kasih votes
    Only fools will vote 4 UmnoB/BN, bcos dis nation is going 2 b bankrupt soon n ahCHEATkor will hit rakyat hard with VAT/sales tax later if elected
    ahCHEATkor n UmnoB/BN want 2 b re-elected 2 continue PLUNDERING, LOOTING dis nation

  9. #9 by yhsiew on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 7:18 am

    The huge influx of foreign workers has depressed local wages. Cheap foreign labor is not the answer to raising productivity in any advanced economy. The government should help (e.g offer tax incentives) small businesses and entrepreneurs to mechanize and automate in their production processes so as to reduce reliance on cheap migrant labor and help correct wage distortion due to cheap labor.

  10. #10 by k1980 on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 8:09 am

    What Econs 101? Jibby failed the Ekonomi Asas paper during his SPM

  11. #11 by Winston on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 8:28 am

    If the UMNO/BN government is clean and plow back the wealth of this country for the benefit of Malaysians, the standard of living would be very much higher.
    No need for all sorts of gimmicks to generate money.

  12. #12 by cemerlang on Sunday, 15 April 2012 - 9:54 pm

    Money needed for development goes to fishing for votes. Then when do you think development will ever start ? The RM 500 you received is part of the development money. But since you took it, your share of the development will be gone. This RM 500 could just be going to that new school, the tarred road etc. etc.

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