The government should make a careful study before implementing the minimum wage of RM1,500-00 come this 1st May, 2022. Most people are in the employment sector and they would, no doubt, be very happy with the implementation of this minimum wage policy.

There is no reason politicians would not support this minimum wage increase at the moment because the 15th General Elections are around the corner now. Politicians who support this wage increase would find themselves popular among the voters and they would be assured of much support from the workers. Most voters are working people earning wages.

But, this policy can harm minority rights and can cause tension, disharmony and divide the society. There will be rising unemployment and bankruptcies if business could not sustain caused by rising cost of operations. There could also be rioting, perhaps looting and increase in crimes if things could not be under control. We need to learn from foreign countries where looting and robberies took place because of poor economy and unemployment.

The increase in minimum wage will only benefit foreign workers more as they are paid much lower that the locals. With increase of wages benefitting foreign workers, billions of ringgit earned by these foreign workers will be sent back to their countries of origin from Malaysia each year to help the economy of their countries.

The locals who are already paid wages higher than RM1,500-00 and they will not find salary adjustment because entrepreneurs and employers may wish to control their operation cost. They will be demotivated to work and this can affect production. A decrease in production may find them an exit from employment. School leavers and fresh graduates may not easily get employment because entrepreneurs and employers may wish not to employ new workers in order to keep operation cost low.

The country is still reeling from the economic shock of Covid-19 pandemic. Efforts should be made towards business recovery of the business sector and controlling of the rising cost of products and services. Currently, government control over increase of prices of goods and services are poor. The government should remember that most businesses are small and medium enterprises and they should be allowed to recover from the economic shock caused of covid-19 pandemic.

It is noted that jobs currently performed by foreign workers, which are generally shunned by locals are considered dirty, dangerous and difficult (3D jobs) because of the perception that they are demeaning and socially unacceptable. These jobs should be re-branded to make them more attractive to locals. For example, a rubbish collector should be re-branded as, “hygiene attendant” and gardener be re-branded as “landscape artist”.

Skilled certifications for jobs should be implemented be it for local or foreign workers.

Differentiation in wages between local workers and foreign workers should be based on certified skills. With certified skills and higher wages, locals would be attracted to perform the re-branded dirty, dangerous and difficult (3D) jobs. Any negative stigma that is perceived by society in relation to these jobs would be removed by the re-branding of jobs that must be supplemented with a clear career progression plan like done in developed countries such as in the UK and Japan, where locals take pride in performing such jobs.

VOON LEE SHAN,
President,
Parti Bumi Kenyalang,30 March2022

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