Malaysia will lose its competitive edge if it raises the minimum wage

Manirajan Ramasamy, Luqman Arif Abdul Karim

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia will lose its competitive edge if it raises the quantum of the minimum wage.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government is not in a financial position to give a higher minimum wage, "as we have to pay and service out national debts."

He said there were request for the minimum wage to be increased to RM1,500 or RM1,800, but that cost is too high and Malaysia will lose its competitive edge."

Dr Mahathir was speaking to reporters after chairing Pakatan Harapan's presidential council meeting here in Yayasan Selangor.

Effective January 2019, the minimum wage nationwide — including Sabah and Sarawak — will be RM1,050 per month or RM5.05 per hour, the Prime Minister’s office announced on Wednesday.

The Minimum Wage Order 2016 had provided for minimum wage rates of RM1,000 a month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 a month for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

In a statement, the Prime Minister's office said the Cabinet decided to standardise minimum wage nationwide after considering recommendations from the National Salary Consulstative Council’s review of the Minimum Wage Order 2016.

When asked to comment on the appointment of Education Minister Dr Maszlee Malik as International Islamic University president, Dr Mahathir said the government is prepared to review the appointment.

"We are prepared to review the appointment because it is not carved in a stone that can't be changed. It can be changed, " he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd