KUCHING: Local folk give their take on the increase in minimum wage from RM1,100 to RM1,200 in major cities, as announced in Budget 2020 tabled in Parliament on Friday.
Merina Kamil, a 45-year-old pre-school teacher said it should be raised to RM1,800 as the cost of living in the city for a couple was high – with rentals, car loan repayments and baby needs.
However, she welcomed the extended maternity leave from 60 to 90 days.
Pre-school helper Jurianah Johari, 50, also agreed that the minimum wage should be increased to between RM1,800 and RM2,000.
“Employees have families and have young children to care for. From baby to university, everything needs money, and price of everything is on the rise – yet, the salary is still very small,” she said.
On the extended maternity leave, she said it would give the mothers more time to breast-feed their infants; thus, saving money.
She also believed in paternity leave for the fathers to help out and also bond with their newborn babies.
“Actually, I think the minimum wage needs to be higher for Sarawak and Sabah, as the cost of goods here is higher than those in the peninsula,” opined Arieffuddin Mamat, 35 – a teacher and a father of four.
For takaful advisor Leyana Talif, 36, city folk facing higher living costs would find an extra RM100 a consolation, as it would mean extra food.
On longer maternity leave, she said: “It would help achieve 60 per cent female labour participation. A more reliable and affordable public childcare system should also be developed to encourage more mothers to return as active income-earners of the household.”
University student Ronaldo Chew, 22, also viewed the minimum wage as being too low, especially in light of university tuition getting costlier each year, leaving many parents struggling.
“The increase sounds great on paper, but in reality we need to consider the living cost, especially in major cities. The raise is not significant and I can barely survive on RM1,200 a month – maybe if I just eat bread every day.
“What more to say about those who have families? Minimum wage should be RM1,800 to RM2,000.”