In a report by Bernama, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi yesterday proposed the minimum wage of Malaysian skilled workers be set at RM3,500 per month - up from the current RM1,200 or so.
He said this was to match the minimum wage of migrant skilled workers in the country as well as to encourage more young Malaysians to take up the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).
"We must raise the minimum wage of Malaysian skilled workers to at least match that offered to skilled workers from abroad," he said to reporters after opening the inaugural TVET Expo at the Putra World Trade Centre.
He also projected that this minimum wage would rise to RM5,000 by 2030.
"Why must we recruit migrant skilled workers for RM3,500? To me, it's very unfair. That is why I am offering myself to chair and to coordinate the TVET Malaysia Council because I would like to see the products of TVET Malaysia enjoy a higher minimum wage," he remarked.
He said many of the migrant skilled workers in the country were from China and Indonesia, and they were in the construction sector.
Datuk Ahmad also instructed the human resources ministry, which was the coordinator of the TVET Malaysia programme, to prepare a memorandum for the cabinet on the setting up of the TVET Malaysia Council.
It should, amongst other things, coordinate all recognition of skills now handled by various quarters under the Malaysian Qualifications Agency, he said.
Earlier, in his speech, Datuk Ahmad emphasised the importance of setting up a career development framework for TVET graduates, including the opportunities to pursue higher education, so that they not only had the advantage of technical experience but also the professional qualification that would enable them to achieve greater success.
He said this was in line with the government commitment to have skilled workers make up 43% of the workforce by 2030.
"One of the indicators of a high-income developed nation is having skilled workers make up 43 per cent of the workforce. We now have skilled workers making up 28% of the workforce. I am confident we can achieve that target earlier than 2030,” he said.
Human resources minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot, higher education minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh, and rural and regional development minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob were also present at the TVET Expo.
Photo / 123RF