Posted: 02 May 2011 06:38 PM PDT
Source: Free Malaysia Today
K Pragalath | May 1, 2011
Human Resources Minister comes under fire for suggesting that higher wage depends on increased productivity.
"In the last 10-15 years, workers face wage stagnation. Their wages increased only by 2.6% during the same period," said Santiago.
He added that to make matters worse, household debts make up 78% of the Gross Domestic Product which contributes to 50% of Malaysians to be highly in debts.
He was responding to comments made by Subramaniam on minimum wage this morning when he alluded that high income as sought by the proponents of minimum wage must be in tandem with increased productivity.
The minister, also the MIC deputy president tweeted: "Income should increase with productivity. Prices in Malaysia are competitive on a global scale.
"Shift of industry towards knowledge and technology will move wages up," he added.
A clearly peeved Santiago also debunked the notion that skilled workers earned more.
"A total of 400,000 skilled Malaysian workers are working in Singapore because the salary scale for the skilled work force is lower here compared to Singapore," he said.
Elaborating further Santiago said that the Human Resources Ministry is only contemplating of setting the minimum wage at RM500 to RM700. The current poverty line is set at RM720.
"The round table conference on minimum wage which I hosted on Friday determined that the minimum wage should be on the scale of RM1,500 to RM2,000," he said.
He also raised concerns over who was in charge of determining the minimum wage – was it the Human Resources Ministry or the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) of the Prime Minister's Department.
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