The Sarawak Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary, Andrew Lo, expressed disappointment with the small increase in the minimum wage - to a national standardised rate of RM1,050, which is not based on sustainable economic policy and labour market, Bernama reported.

In a statement, he revealed MTUC's suspicion that the minimum wage of RM1,050 was the proposal from the employers and not the full recommendation of the Minimum Wage Council as a whole.

"It only represents 5% increase when the official inflation has increased by at least 10% while labour productivity has increased by about 8% during the period under review," Lo said, adding that the increase should be based on "sustainable economic policy and labour market, not at the whims and fancies of politicians."

Currently, he said the minimum wage was lower in Sabah and Sarawak only because employers in the two states had been paying lower wages the past decades.

Lo said: "While the aim is to have a uniform rate, this should be achieved on a gradual basis. To insist on a uniform rate now will risk adopting a lower rate to the detriment of workers in Peninsular Malaysia which make up 70% of the total workforce.

"Given the converging data, we would expect uniformity to be achieved by the next review."

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