Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Minimum Wage At RM1,000

Finally after years of to and fro, we have come to some form of minimum wage standard. Naturally the associations such as SMI Association would say things like some 80% of small medium employers may have to fold because of that.

Point 1) Are we not trying to move to get out of the middle income trap? The country has been a boom town for foreign workers, many being paid below that level. While that makes us competitive in some industries, safe to say, those industries seriously should not be around our country if we are going to keep developing. Being a magnet for cheap labour will only further erode the overall labour wage scale for the rest.

Point 2) To the SMis, if you can only operate profitably with wages below RM1,000 ... methinks you should shift your business to Cambodia or Laos. If you so choose to rely on such low wages as part of your business model, safe to say, your business is so sunset, you cannot even see the sun, in fact you probably see the moon rising. What future you think you have, the country would have if we operate predominantly in those industries?

Point 3) A fair wage. Seriously, can anyone who is at management level think properly about a person living under RM1,000 a month. Even if they can scrape by, ....  a caring society, a maturing society, a balanced society would not be able to accept a huge grouping living under those conditions. The wage gap cannot be so unrealistic and oppressive. Just because some "disadvantaged" people may have to accept whatever wages the employers may set, does not make it right. Some may not have the ability to fight for their rights to a better life or a fairer treatment, does not mean they do not deserve a fair go.

Point 4) I am not advocating a socialistic type of society, but there has to be a redressing of balance. If not, what we call capitalism is another word for exploitation. So, suck it up and move on. Seriously folks, our country has NEAR ZERO safety net ... no unemployment benefits, no dole, no unemployment insurance, a so-so free healthcare / education system ... wages have to be fairer. We need a liveable wage for all.