Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 10 March 2022 in Shah Alam
Labour Law Reform Coalition was appalled by the statement of Minister of International Trade and Industry Azmin Ali that the increase of minimum wage would hurt small and medium enterprises as businesses are yet to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Azmin Ali’s unsympathetic statement has disappointed workers in Malaysia suffering from wage freeze or cut during the pandemic and rise in food prices in the last few months. His pro-business attitude is clearly in contrast with the “Keluarga Malaysia” concept propagated by the Prime Minister.
If the Prime Minister is still considering workers as part of the “Keluarga Malaysia” who are entitled to shared prosperity of the economic growth, he should remove the anti-worker minister from the cabinet and commit to workers’ agenda.
Moreover, Azmin’s argument does not hold water. The Standard Chartered’s 2022 market outlook has forecasted that Malaysia’s GDP growth will be increased from 3.5 percent in 2021 to 6.2 percent. The Malaysian economy is booming, many businesses claim they cannot find workers to fill in vacancies.
Given the federal government has missed the two-year deadline (ended on 1 February 2022) and the parliament has to be dissolved in 15 months, the government has no choice but immediately announce the new minimum wage of RM1,500.
For small and medium businesses that scored poor performance in 2020 and 2021, the government can consider giving limited period of exemption or wage subsidy.
N. Gopal Kishnam
Labour Law Reform Coalition