Minimum wage: Consider the locals first

KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 – UMNO President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi hopes the government will give priority to locals by ensuring that they fill up job vacancies available in the market once the minimum wage policy is implemented.
A few days ago, he said the Prime Minister gave new hopes that the government will review the 2020 minimum wage to ensure it remains relevant to the socio-economy of the people, following presence situation which shows the current wage cannot cope with the increase in prices of goods which are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If it is true that the government can increase the minimum wage, I strongly support it. It is a good thing for the people because they are burdened with high cost of living at this time. But keep in mind that the increase might invite more foreign workers hunting for lucrative salary offer.
“If that is implemented, I hope the government gives priority to the locals. Make sure they seize this opportunity by filling the existing jobs. After all, a Minister had recently stated that the Malaysian economy is in a stable state. Many foreign direct investment (FDI) was successfully brought in. So it is the right time to increase the people’s income,” he said in a Facebook posting
Ahmad Zahid who is also the Barisan Nasional (BN) chairman, explained that based on the minimum wage currently implemented, a salary of RM1,200 was implemented in 57 city councils and municipalities throughout the country. For areas other than major urban regions, the minimum wage rate remains at RM1,100.
“Setting the minimum wage may not be easy because there are many obstacles, notably from the private sector. Private employers especially manufacturers are reluctant to provide a minimum wage because they can get foreign workers easily and cheaply. They also threaten to move investment abroad.
“I remember that a coalition party once promised to increase the minimum wage to RM1,500. It  was used as a propaganda to defeat Barisan Nasional (BN) in GE-14. But when they ruled, it was just an empty promise. Many have not forgotten it, not few fell for it.
“Around the 1980s, a minister also promised cheap labor incentives to attract investors such as Motorola, Robert Bosch, Western Digital and National Semiconductor. At that time trade unions were not allowed to function because if allowed, I believe the union will hold a demonstration in Parliament. ”
However, he said don’t forget the ministers’ salary when discussing the minimum wage issue.
“Records show that the salaries of Deputy Ministers and Ministers are around RM30,000 to RM60,000 a month. When the Emergency Ordinance is implemented, there were times we found it difficult to see them. Please understand that Parliament is not sitting. They still can find time going around meeting the people.”