Monday, June 23, 2008

Minimum Wage in Malaysia/ 私人领域实行最低薪金


近年来,全球因面对通膨压力持续上升,在通膨加速和就业市场走软夹击之下,受薪人士无一不为通膨所苦。在公共服务领域,中央政府已迅速表示关注,也着手研究数项措施如何减轻低薪公务员的负担,这里暂且不谈有关措施的利弊成效,至少政府已有所行动。因此,私人领域也该正视有关问题,制定雇员的最低薪金或基本薪金(或称基薪)。

根据国际劳工组织(ILO)的定义,基本/最低薪金或工资是雇主必须付给绝大部分雇员的最低薪额,它可以按日薪、日薪或月薪计算。基薪薪额必须能反映国家现有的经济和社会实况,须能应付领薪者及其家人的基本生活需求。目前,全世界超过90%的国家已立法实施最低薪金政策,马来西亚尚未达致。

马来西亚职工总会曾多次呼吁政府为国内所有劳工实施法定基薪,该总会于2007年6月18日呈给首相的备忘录中,亦再次提出有关诉求。设定合理的基本工资,相信可吸引更多大马人投身本地劳工市场,以减低对外劳的依赖,更重要的是有助于缩小贫困,改善低收入人民的生活。

该总会以单身人士的基本需求为标准进行估算,建议一名劳工应享有最少900令吉的基薪。这900令吉当中,伙食和基本的维生消费就占了450令吉(50%)、住135令吉、交通130令吉;剩余还得缴交公积金、社会保险及支付其他生活消费。除了基薪,该总会也建议私人雇主应付给雇员300令吉的生活津贴(COLA),让他们能应付日益高涨的食物和生活开支。

实施法定基薪惠及受聘人士,然而有关政策亦存有一些争议,包括对雇用市场、生产力、竞争能力和通膨的效应。 有关当局担忧会加剧失业问题,而尤以低生产力员工和短工的失业率会大幅度增加。大马制造业雇主联合会(MEF)也认为,基薪政策或导致大马的生产成本增加而失去竞争力,也会迫走外资,这会直接影响雇佣市场。

纵观上述几点,是否要设立最低工资制度仍会争论不休。与其在利弊之间躇踌,我国其实可以效法一些国家,在选择性的特定领域推行职业性基薪制。基薪可以由中央政府或委任第三机构制定。由于在大都会、郊外、城镇、沙巴和砂劳越的生活消费成本皆不同,因地而异,故设定基薪必须考虑社会因素如职业性质、生活指数、薪金阶级;经济因素包括经济走势、雇用和生产水平,不能一概而论。

落实基薪政策,劳雇双方都必须作出调整。为求聘用,雇员须纠正工作态度提高生产和发挥高度工作表现,这绝对有助于提高生产力和效率。由此以来,我国无需再依赖廉价和缺乏技术的外劳。反之,我们要扭转国内的经济型态,吸引更多以熟练技工为主的资金密集型投资和工业。至于从事非公会组织性行业者,如农场、种植和工厂劳工,也会受到基薪政策法律保护。

此外,实行基本时薪制亦有助于吸引大马人从事兼职。兼职的概念应被大事鼓励,以唤醒更多大马人民的经济意识,尤其吸引青年和妇女们兼职。例如许多高技术女员工,婚后离职了,在照顾家庭之余也可选择伸缩性兼职,不但能继续发挥一技所长,也带动了国内的经济和消费市场,而我国亦达到提倡国内经济自主,减少依赖外援的目标。因此,我国中央政府应该成立一个薪金理事会,汇集政府和私人领域的专才和代表,深入检讨目前的劳雇薪金制和研究最低薪金制的可行性,确保人民领取的薪金,符合时下的经济趋势。不得忽略一点,调整薪金也是应付合降低通膨的其一方法。
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With inflation crippling up every day, It is time to think of a minimium wage in the private sector.

According to International Labour Organisation (ILO), minimum wage is the amount that must be paid to the majority of a country, generally on an hourly, daily or monthly basis. It is fixed ideally to cover the minimum needs of the worker and his/her family based on national economic and social conditions. More than 90 % of countries have legislation regarding minimum wage and Malaysia is not one of them. The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has called for this legislation and in its latest memorandum to Prime Minister on 18th. of June 2007, has requested the government to pass a minimum wage legislation to be applicable to all workers. By having a decent minimum wage, it will attract more Malaysian workers and reduce dependency on foreign labour. What is more important is to alleviate poverty and improve their livelihood.

The MTUC has requested RM900 minimum wage based on the essential and basic needs of a single person. Out of the amount, 50% goes to food and subsistence and other components include RM135 for accommodation, RM130 for transport and the rest contribution to EPF, SOCSO and other expanses. MTUC has also requested a RM300 payment for cost of living allowance (COLA) for all private sector workers due to the recent increases in food and other costs of living.

Some of the current issues in minimum wage policy include its impact on employment, productivity, inflation and the country’s competitiveness. There is fear that it will increase unemployment especially the very low productivity and casual workers. According to Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), it will make Malaysia a more costly place to do business and thereby deter foreign investment and make Malaysia less competitive.

Instead of a single country-wide minimum wage, Malaysia can still adopt a minimum wage policy based on sectoral or occupational minimum wage. The cost of living differs from urban, rural, towns and Sabah and Sarawak. It can either be set by the government or through tripartite body. Factors that can be taken into considerations include both social and economic. They include cost of living, level of wages, safety net and economic factors include economic situation, employment and productivity levels.

It will increase productivity and efficiency as producers or employers will have to make these adjustments. Workers will have to change their attitudes towards work and increase productivity to be employed. Malaysia will not be dependent on cheap and low skilled foreign labour to drive its economy. Instead, we have to change our economy to attract more capital intensive investment and industries that require more highly skilled and trained workers. Those who work in the non-unionised sectors such as farm, plantation and factory workers will be protected with such legislation.

With an hourly minimum wage level, it will be more attractive for Malaysians to work part-time. The concept of part-time work should be encouraged so that more Malaysians can be put to work especially the youth and women. This will make them more independent and the country less dependent on foreign labour. Many highly trained women have left their careers to look after their families and they can be encouraged to go back to work with more flexi working time.

Hence, the time has come for the Government to set up a Wage Council with representatives from the government and private sectors in order to ensure that workers’ pay is reflective of the current economic scenario. All this should be adjusted to cope up with the inflation.

10 comments:

NEIL said...

Dr, To hell with the wages.What the gov't have given us is peanuts.With the cost of living going up 30-40 percent,we as monthly paid worker can't afford to make ends meet.When we ask for an increase we are threaten with sacking.It's time to walk the talk.MTUC is a lame duck.

NEIL said...

Dr,I would very much prefer you to go into topics regarding MCA which I think more bloggers would be glad to comments This is the area you are too good at or is it that you are scare to intrude.Is that saying'Don't bite the hands that feed you 'applicable,or is it that you are leaving a small JALAN so one day you my have a chance to plot a come back?Thanks

Kok Ben said...

Hi Dr. Chua,

I guess this pinpoint the importance of dialogue and contract negotiation between employer and employee...

Many foreign countries have their workers forming various occupational labor union and negotiate with the government...

I really hope Malaysian could learn from them...

Treasure what u have said...

DEAR YB. I PERSONALLY AGREED WITH YOUR PROPOSAL. BUT DONT YOU THINK THIS IS NOT ONE OF THE ROOT CAUSE? EVERYTIME THE GOVERNMENT INCREASE PRICE OF GOODS, THE WAGES ALSO HAVE TO BE INCREASED IN TANDEM. BUT HAVE THE GOVERNMENT STUDY, RESEARCH, LISTEN TO THE PUBLIC B4 IMPLEMENTATION OF ANY POLICY THAT AFFECT THE PPL'S LIVING E.g THE FUEL PRICE? SHOULDN'T YOUR PARTY MCA CHAMPIONING FOR THE GOOD CAUSE AND GOVERNANCE WHEN THE BN DECIDED A POLICY DETRIMENTAL TO THE WELFARE OF THE COUNTRY. I HAVE TO BE FRANK WHEN YOU WERE IN MINISTER POSITION, HAVE YOU PUT FORTH FRANK OPINION DESPITE RISKING OF TOEING THE PARTY'S POLICY? THE WOES HAVE TO BE VIEW HOLISTICALLY AND NOT SYMTOPMATIC SOLUTION. IS PONTLESS TO COMMENT IN BLOG. IF YOU HAVE GUTS, MAKE A COMMENT IN THE PUBLIC YOUR FRANK OPNION OF THE CURRENT SITUATION. WE WANT TO HEAR VOICES THAT CHAMPION FOR THE GOOD CAUSE OF MALAYSIAN. SCREAMING BEHIND THE SCENE DOES NOT CASE ANY EFFECT AND I DONT IT WILL ANYWAY.

Onekampung said...

Though minimum wage for all Malaysians is an important issue, but I would rather Dr. you pose some sharp questions and issues concerning the country's economy vis-a-vis the Chinese community. This is more relevant in your blog. Didn't you mention your blog is to discuss the future of MCA and its relevance in Malaysian politics?

Back to the issue of minimum wage, both the government and the employers are finding an easy way out, and there is totally no determination or resolve in the part of government to handle this issue. For the employers, if the locals' wages are high, they will go and get some cheap and unskilled labour from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Myanmar,India, etc etc.

How can you solve this issue if the trend continues? I see the only way for Malaysia to move a notch higher in term of competitiveness is to be serious in our goal in moving into capital and technonogy intensive industries. When demand for talents increases, the wages will go up automatically. There is no need for an artificial minimum wage mechanism.

Singapore doesn't have one; but have you ever heard of Singaporeans complain about minimum wages? Their wages are among the highest in the world.

Wake up, ministers and policy makers, do some serious thinking.

Konihosunoyuki said...

Dr Chua, but minimum wage can cause unemployment to increase also !!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_wage
http://kiasitrader.textmalaysia.com/ah-beng-economics-effects-of-minimum-wage.html

笑看风云 said...

Dear DR, Chua,

I heard a conversation

" Is business bad?"
" NO! not bad"
"woh !you must be good"
" oh no , it is VERY BAD "

cost of living is high

petrol up, rice up , toll up, curry mee up, roti channi up, cofee up,medical cost up,steel price up, cement up, sand up, stone up,transport charges up,eletric will be up? NEW GST (TAX)will be up?
what is not up??
share market not up, wages not up-----hahahaha

government should approve

TAX FREE --- on 2nd. job/ wages.

dranony said...

On the one hand, the BN government, refuses to implement a minimum wage across all sectors, on the excuse that it will make Malaysia a more costly place to do business, and hence make Malaysia less competitive, as well as increase inflationary pressures, plus increase unemployment amongst the lower productivity workers.
On the OTHER hand, the BN government has no qualms about imposing a minimum wage on certain sectors, for these employers to pay a minimum wage.
Isn't this hypocritical?

Won't employers in those "selected sectors" who are forced to pay a minimum wage, also would want to cut back on the number of staff esp if these workers are not maximally productive? Would this also not increase unemployment, albeit it may simply be shifting the unemployment pressure onto another sector?
Furthermore, won't imposition of minimum wage on an employer, also cause his costs to increase, and hence may cause him to pass on cost increases to the consumers? Isn't this another way of contributing to inflation, although on a smaller scale, and in an indirect fashion?

If the government really wants to raise wages, the first thing it should do, would be to limit our dependence on foreign immigrant labour.
Once supply of foreign labour drops, the demand for local labour will go up, and wage increases will follow.
As it occurs in Malaysia at present, there are 1.7million foreign workers in Malaysia (bear in mind that total government workforce is only 1.15million, and number of taxpayers is only 1.14million). Isn't this rather large foreign workforce equivalent to "outsourcing" our jobs to foreigners, but just that they are working within our shores?
Sure, it is good for the economy, by keeping local wages low - BUT isn't this exactly what the workers are complaining about?
You can't have your cake and eat it too.

ctchoolaw said...

Please see my views on this matter here

GOHHOEHOE said...

Dr.chua9

On average a bachelor in Kuala Lumpur need to spend RM250 for rental , RM250 for those using public transport and at least RM 400 for makan , at together is
RM900, so a minimun wage of RM900 not sufficient for to survive in Kuala Lumpur ,unless employer can provide additional fringe benefit to them such as providing them with free accomodation , free transport and food .

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