The Malaysian Human Resources deputy minister Datuk Seri Ismail Muttalib has said that the higher minimum wage proposed by Pakatan Harapan, is not feasible - according to a report by New Straits Times.
Responding to the proposed higher minimum wage of RM1,500 per month, the minister said at the Dewan Rakyat yesterday: "Employers would not be able to manage their operational cost that would increase tremendously, and some might even shut down certain operations as they would not be able to manage the high costs. Also, this will result in loss of jobs that will in turn cause high unemployment rates."
"Finally, it will stunt the growth of SMEs and as a result, the country and economy will lose high-skilled workers due to the lack of jobs," the minister told the House.
Last month, the Human Resources Ministry stated that a new minimum wage for Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan would be announced by 2018, with the goal of closing the income gap between these regions.
Ismail also pointed out that the minimum wage in the Malaysian peninsula of RM1,000 is amongst the highest in the region, compared to that of countries such as Myanmar at RM340, Laos at RM479, Cambodia at RM629, Philippines at RM909, Indonesia at RM382 and Vietnam at RM600.
He added that the national minimum wage must always be consistent, and that the government would only increase the minimum wage after a thorough study by the National Wage Consultative Council.
"Increasing the minimum wage involves many components like looking into the economic index and consultation must be done with the World Bank while making sure the rights of employees are always guaranteed,” he concluded.