Wednesday, July 28

Monitoring minimum wage

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Human Resources Ministry to look into suggestion on minimum wage tripartite committees 

KUCHING: Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said yesterday a cabinet paper on the suggestion to set up tripartite committees to keep tabs on the minimum wage implementation within all the 72 Manpower offices nationwide, can only be prepared upon the agreement of his ministry and National Wages Consultative Council.

He said the all ministry’s agencies, including the Industrial Relations Department (JPPM), had been asked to be prepared for the impact of the minimum wage implementation, which would be fully enforced by January 1 2014, especially during the first quarter of next year.

“The suggestion by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) to set up a committee, comprising government officers, employers and worker representatives, is a good one because being a big country, it is better to have smaller committees which tackle cases step by step.

“But I have to bring it up first,” he told Bernama after officiating at the JPPM directors conference here.

On Friday MTUC vice-president, A Balasubramaniam had said that such a committee could be effective as it could deal with the situation at the local level and solve any problem that might arise besides doubling up as a one-stop centre to solve grievances of both local and migrant workers.

Riot said his ministry, which had already received a number of complaints from employers who would not be able to pay the minimum wage of RM900 per month in the Peninsula and RM800 per month in Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan, would review its implementation after studying its impact on all sectors across the board.

However he was confident of the implementation’s positive outcome that was part of the government’s economic transformation programme to generate a high income economy by 2020.

Earlier he said lauded the department in Sarawak for its efficiency and role in maintaining industrial harmony to come up with a win-win stituation that saw 876 workers being retrenched by Sanmina Corporation (M) Sdn Bhd here a few months ago being paid a total sum of RM2.8 million in compensation by the management.

He said the impact of the global economic crisis had forced some big multinational companies to take drastic measures by closing down their business in the country in order to reduce their operating costs.

Currently Malaysia registered a workforce of about 14 million, with nearly 800 trade unions, including 1.1 million workers in Sarawak, he said. — Bernama