Allocation for cronies ok but increase in minimum wages cannot says BN youth

The BN Youth has criticized the RM1100 minimum wage policy announced in the Pakatan Rakyat’s shadow budget as “unrealistic”, warning that it may destroy the economy. Hulu Selangor MP P Kamalanathan said BN’s RM900 minimum wage policy was made after careful study by the National Wage Council and World Bank and not plucked out of the air. Labis MP Datuk Chua Tee Yong also criticised Pakatan’s minimum wage policy of RM1,100 per month which is RM200 more than the BN’s RM900.

If increasing 200 above the BN minimum wages to RM 1100 is scoffed as if it will destroy the economy, when will Malaysia achieve prime minister’s high income society? Does BN youth oppose prime minister’s high income economy model? We cannot suppress wages and achieve high income society. The above attitude of BN youth shows they don’t appreciate the contribution of workers and the worker’s difficulties to meet the ever increasing cost of living. It is said that 80% of Malaysian workers earn below RM3000 per month and Qualify for BRIM vouchers. Low wages are driving Malaysian youths to Singapore and overseas and attract workers of other countries. Malaysia urgently need to move up the value chain of business activity.

Pakatan rakyat MPs have commented that the lack of a minimum wage policy, the dependence on foreign unskilled labour, and the resulting inability to automate and move up the technological ladder were the key  contributing factors of a stagnated Malaysian economy since the 1990s. Already in Malaysia workers’ share of national income is only 28% while in most developed countries workers share between 40%-55% of national income. There is clearly a need to improve the workers’ share of national income.  70% of Malaysian work force is low skilled compared to Singapore’s 51%. This large presence of low skilled work force contributes to a dampening effect on wages.

BN youth has supported the increase in wages for civil servants, police force and teachers in every other budget. Why do they oppose the increase of RM200 in minimum wages for low paid 3.2 million workers in private sector whose wages had stagnated for decades? One study by ministry of human resource says that the average wage increase was only 2.6% per annum against a productivity increase of 6.7% implicating the suppression of wages. BN has agreed to implement the minimum wage policy after a world bank study about a third (1/3) of the workers living with a wage of about RM700, below the poverty line.

Private sector workers do not enjoy the same level of social security and retirement benefits as the civil service. Therefore these lower wage earners in private sector need a decent wages to provide for the family especially in major cities.

For BN youth to oppose a RM200 in minimum wages clearly shows that they care more for rich employers then lower salaried workers who are struggling to meet the rising cost of living. MTUC and other unions have been fighting for a decent living wages for private sector workers for many years. A RM 200 increase in minimum wages given to workers will be spent on goods and services which will intern stimulate the economy. Money put to workers hand will have multiplier effect which increases consumption.

Human Resource Ministry has spent billions retraining graduates by consultants and local educational institutions. Instead these monies can be channeled to upgrade the technology used in SMEs and sent youths for on the job or in-house training. BN government lack ingenious thinking to upgrade the technology and provide other fiscal incentives to move up the value chain ladder in SMEs. BN youth should encourage and remodel local education institutions to produce employable graduates with good soft skills. These deficiencies in government delivery system contribute to low skill and low wages.       

Budget 2013 has allocated funds 582 million for toll Operators concessionaires, 400 million for crony bailouts (1MDB), rescue GLCs which is seat for UMNO rent seekers amonging to 2772.s million, improve safety perception of police 272.5 million, 386 million to set up 57 KRIM stores at inflated prices. BN youth never protested against these allocations for rich cronies like how they protest for minimum wage increases to low income wage earners.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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