How The M’sian Minimal Wage Was Created Simply 9 Years In the past & What’s Modified Since Then

How The M’sian Minimum Wage Was Created Just 9 Years

Do you know that our nationwide, sector-wide minimal wage was really launched extra lately than we’d’ve anticipated?

The Malaysian authorities introduced the nationwide implementation of minimal wages in July 2012, and in the identical 12 months, the Minimal Wages Order 2012 got here to being. The legislation was then enforced on January 1, 2013. That was barely a decade in the past. 

At the moment, the minimal wage charges for West Malaysians had been RM900/month and RM4.33/hour, whereas for East Malaysians, they had been RM800/month and RM3.85/hour.

What Was Earlier than The Minimal Wage Order?

Previous to this, Malaysia solely had the Wages Councils Act 1947 which was established for staff who had been weak with low pay and had insufficient collective bargaining preparations.  

In accordance with this Act, the federal government might set up Wage Councils for sure non-unionised sectors of the workforce, they usually’ll be made up of presidency, staff’ and employers’ representatives, and no more than three people.

These Councils would talk about and submit Wage Laws Proposals which the federal government might select to enact in a Wage Regulation Order.

Wage charges of unionised sectors of the workforce are then decided by means of a collective settlement and set by means of decentralised collective bargaining, in accordance with the Industrial Relations Act 1967. 

Therefore, 6 Wage Laws Orders had been enacted (and a few amended the years after):

Catering and hotelCinema workerStevedores (an individual employed at a dock to load and unload ships) and cargo handlersShop assistantsShop assistants (Sarawak)Non-public safety guards

That can assist you gauge the speed of minimal wages paid to staff again then, cinema staff needed to be paid RM155 per thirty days in cinemas usually displaying four movies a day, and store assistants aged 21 and above needed to be paid RM250 per thirty days in sure city districts, in accordance with the Worldwide Labour Organisation.

Failure to pay minimal wage charges as established by the Wages Regulation Orders might outcome within the employer being ordered to pay the employee the remaining sum of what they need to’ve been paid and a possible effective no more than RM500 for every offence.

Realising Our Nationwide Productiveness Elevated However Wages Didn’t Catch Up

Now, there have been a number of setbacks below the Wages Councils Act. 

The method to determine Minimal Wage Orders had been lengthy, tedious, and ad-hoc, minimal wage charges weren’t usually revised, and lots of different massive workforces had been overlooked since solely these 6 had been established. Furthermore, the act additionally didn’t state how incessantly minimal wage charges must be adjusted.

Furthermore, in 2009, the Ministry of Human Sources carried out a Nationwide Employment Research and located that 33.eight% of private-sector staff had been paid beneath RM700 per thirty days, relative to the Pendapatan Garis Kemiskinan (PGK) RM800, in accordance with Prof. Siti Marshita from MMU, an knowledgeable in Labour Legislation, in her paper right here. 

Moreover, the World Financial institution discovered that for the previous 10 years, wages in Malaysia was solely a flattening of two.6% per 12 months whereas productiveness elevated on common by 6.7% in the identical interval.

Realising that Malaysians aren’t paid pretty for his or her labour plus the elevated prices of residing, the federal government then determined to introduce a nationwide minimal wage beginning with the founding of the Nationwide Wages Consultative Council in 2011.

From there, the council was chargeable for learning all issues minimum-wage associated like talking with the related stakeholders and studying from different nations to make suggestions to the federal government. 

As soon as that was over, the Minimal Wages Order was lastly introduced and enforced the 12 months after, setting a nationwide, sector-wide minimal wage fee for all Malaysians.

Not Everybody Was Pleased, Although

That can assist you gauge the worth of the primary minimal wage fee, RM900 again then in 2013 would imply RM1,037.68 in at present’s ringgit worth, in accordance with the Malaysian inflation calculator. So not too huge of a distinction, however not near our present minimal wage fee of RM1,200 as effectively. 

Initially, RM1,200 per thirty days was the quantity requested for by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, however later revised their demand to RM900 to satisfy the federal government midway, in accordance with the New York Occasions.

Although this was deemed sufficient in the interim by the federal government and the union again then, the Socialist Celebration of Malaysia didn’t share the identical sentiments.

They rallied in KL calling for RM1,500 per thirty days and criticised the federal government for being discriminatory in setting totally different charges for staff in numerous elements of the nation.

Nonetheless, the PM on the time, Najib Razak simply responded that the totally different charges had been a mirrored image of regional variations in salaries and price of residing.

As for employers, a few of them had been towards paying the minimal wage as a result of it might cut back the businesses’ revenue margins, and that some firms with a small quantity of workers could possibly be pressured out of enterprise.

A UM Economics lecturer, Professor Terence Gomez, additionally shared within the interview that the introduction of a nationwide minimal wage might harm prospects as effectively, if firms handed on the elevated price of exports onto their prospects. 

“I see this extra as a political transfer relatively than an try and take care of the issue of unjust wages for staff,” he shared within the interview with the NY Occasions. 

He additionally added that these wages could also be extra helpful for staff within the rural space relatively than the city ones, and the “the agricultural vote is what places the federal government in energy.” 

The nationwide minimal wage fee didn’t keep this quantity, after all, as through the years it was modified three extra occasions to come back to the RM1,200 it’s at present.

2013201620182020West MalaysiaRM900/mo, RM4.33/hrRM1,000/mo,RM4.81/hrRM1,100/mo, RM5.29/hrRM1,200/mo, RM5.77/hr
(the elevate is simply relevant to staff of the town council or municipal council areas)East MalaysiaRM800/mo, RM3.85/hrRM920/mo, RM4.42/hr

Our Minimal Wage Is Growing, However Does It Profit Everybody Equally?

Whereas having a nationwide, sector-wide minimal wage cushioned the wage inequality within the nation, we’re nonetheless compensated fairly unfairly for our productiveness throughout most workforce sectors, in accordance with Financial institution Negara Malaysia’s 2018 annual report.

Malaysians are underpaid throughout most workforce sectors / Picture Credit score: Financial institution Negara Malaysia

Whereas there’s been an incline in tertiary schooling graduates into the market, the actual minimal month-to-month fundamental wage for recent graduates has declined. 

Nonetheless, the beginning wage for these with out tertiary schooling have been seeing an incline, because of the nationwide minimal wage will increase.

In accordance with BNM, this might counsel that our financial system has not created enough high-skilled jobs to soak up the variety of graduates getting into the labour pressure, leading to 50% of these in low-skilled handbook jobs overqualified for these occupations, as discovered by Khazanah Analysis Institute.


The following time you hear anybody criticising millennial or Gen Z adults for being “choosy” with jobs, you’ll be higher knowledgeable as to why.

Whereas it’s a very good factor that our nationwide minimal wage is growing and benefiting people who want it most (because it ought to), it’s nonetheless vital comparable protecting coverage is put in place earlier than the brain-drain difficulty turns into detrimental to the nation’s financial development.

You’ll be able to learn extra salary-related articles we’ve lined right here.

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