The Ministry of Human Resources had announced that Malaysia’s minimum wage will be set to RM1,200 in 2020. It is a RM100 increment compared to the year before.
Last year, Pakatan Harapan (PH) increased the national minimum wage from RM1,000 to RM1,100 after it become the government.
Nevertheless, the minimum wage increment was not a smooth sailing. Initially, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran announced that the minimum wages will be set at RM1,050, a mere increment of RM50.
It drew public criticism as it was written in the PH manifesto that the coalition will increase the national minimum wage from RM1,000 to RM1,500 if they win GE-14. The RM500 increment was mentioned twice in the manifesto, under Promise 34 and Promise 35.
Regardless, the manifesto is a five-year roadmap, hence the national minimum wage will gradually increase throughout the upcoming years, eventually reaching RM1,500.
Thus, the additional RM100 increase in 2020 indicates that the PH government is on track in reaching its target of a RM1,500 minimum wage in 2022.
However, the RM1,200 minimum wage comes with a fine print, only 57 major towns and cities in Malaysia will be affected by the salary hike.
The Human Resources Ministry revealed that those areas were selected due to having a higher cost of living.
Interestingly, M. Kulasegaran did not address much on the issue in December, instead the official announcements on the national minimum wage were made by the ministry.
Furthermore, the top influencers for the ‘minimum wage’ topic were comprised of employee organisation leaders and company owners
Newly minted Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Adnan Mat promised to fight for a higher minimum wage for the people.
Malaysian Rubber Glove Manufacturers Association (Margma) president Denis Low Jau Foo said that the salary hike in urban areas is inevitable due to the higher cost of living.
But he hinted that the price of rubber gloves will subsequently increase, because company owners need to adjust accordingly with the production cost.
On the other hand, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan claimed that the RM1,200 minimum wage would benefit the foreigners rather than the locals.
He elaborated that foreign workers were the one who are more likely to fit into the new ruling rather than the locals.
The new national minimum wage of RM1,200 at selected locations was first announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng during the tabling of 2019 Budget in October.