KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian workers have borne the cost of failed policies for decades, according to the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).
“The question that needs to be answered: ‘Who has benefited?’ (from this approach),” it said in a statement.
Wages,it noted, had not risen with the cost of living.
Wage levels are being depressed through failed employment policies. One reason is the presence of foreign workers.
The MTUC feels it’s high time those making policy decisions see, if not experience, the plight of the man in the street.
The statement expressed surprise that a former top civil servant, Ramon Navaratnam, had disputed Universiti Sains Malaysia Associate Professor Shanker Chelliah’s finding that the middle class in Malaysia had become 40% poorer.
“It’s a fact which is plain for all to see,” said the MTUC.
It agrees with Chelliah that real income levels have dropped.
Firstly, said the MTUC, the cost of living had increased; and secondly, some bad policies had led to depression of wages.
The problem with indicators such as the consumer price index was that it was so detached from reality, it said.
All that needs to be done, on cost of living, is to look at food and rent over the years. “With the goods and services tax, there has been an exponential increase in the cost of living.”
Prices of simple meals — breakfast, lunch and dinner — were a case in point, added the statement.