(From right) Najib and Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem applauded by some 5,000 people who packed the main hall of BCCK at the start of the national-level Workers’ Day celebration last Friday. — Photo by Chimon Upon
KUCHING: The country’s minimum wage will remain unchanged until the next review, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Najib who is also finance minister said relevant parties would be consulted before the government can implement a new rate.
“We have only implemented the minimum wage policy for about a year and five months. There are proposals to raise the minimum wage but this cannot be done every year. In fact, there’s no country which increases the minimum wage every year.
“Come the right time, we can announce the new minimum wage rate,” he said when officiating at the national-level Workers Day celebration at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here on Friday.
The minimum wage policy in Malaysia introduced on Jan 1, 2013 was fully implemented after January last year at RM900 per month in the peninsula and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak.
The minimum wage must be reviewed once in two years under the Minimum Wage Order 2012.
He said implementation of the minimum wage policy had gone smoothly with the majority of employers abiding by the ruling.
Touching on the welfare of workers in this country, Najib said the government is always looking to gradually increase the component of wages to match gross domestic product (GDP) growth.
“What is the component of wages in our GDP? I was told that the trend has improved. From 28 per cent, the figure has increased to 32 per cent. For developed countries, the benchmark is 40 per cent. I hope that in years to come, the country’s component wages could reach the 40 per cent level,” he explained.
Najib said this target would not happen overnight but move in accordance with the country’s human capital capability. Increased productivity will raise profit that lead to improvement of the nation’s GDP and component wages.
“If we continue to offer low wages, the country will remain a developing or third world nation. We want to become first world, a developed nation that can compete by offering quality human capital,” he said.
Najib mentioned that Malaysia only has 25 per cent skilled workforce, 61 per cent semi-skilled workers and12.9 per cent non-skilled.
He believed skilled workforce must be raised to a much higher percentage and that the 11th Malaysia Plan would emphasise productivity.
He said apart from the government’s effort, employers in the private sector must play a role in retraining workers to improve their skills and productivity to enable them to acquire better positions for better pay.