SMEs claim already paying workers higher than minimum wage

Boo Su-Lyn
The PH government announced Wednesday that the minimum wage for the private sector will be raised to RM1,050 monthly across the board for peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 7 ― Most businesses, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), pay their staff higher than the minimum wage, an SME association said today.

The Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta) expressed support for the increment of the minimum wage to RM1,050 per month nationwide effective January 1 next year.

“We reiterate our stand that wages should ultimately be dictated by market forces,” Samenta policy and government relations chairman Datuk William said in a statement.

“In most industries, including the plantation and manufacturing sectors, the demand for workers far outstrip supply. As a result, employers are resorting to offering benefits such as free lodging and meals, on top of wages to attract and retain workers,” he added.

He also claimed that as labour shortage was a major challenge, most SMEs were willing to pay higher salaries to attract skilled workers.

The PH government announced Wednesday that the minimum wage for the private sector will be raised to RM1,050 monthly across the board for peninsular Malaysia (currently RM1,000) and Sabah and Sarawak that are both at RM920.

Trade unions have slammed the quantum of the minimum wage increase, saying an RM50 hike in the peninsula was meaningless.

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