Revisions should reflect realities

Dr Madeline Berma


KUCHING:  The statutory minimum wage rate should be periodically revised for adjustments to reflect the realities of life, said Malaysian Academy of Science Fellow, Dr Madeline Berma.

The economist said this was necessary in the wake of the recent announcement on the new national poverty line income (PLI) from RM980 to RM2,208 by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM).

“The government needs to adjust the current minimum wage rate, which is RM1,100, in parallel with the new PLI. It should be determined based on regions and sectors which reflect the realities of the sectors,” she told New Sarawak Tribune when asked to comment on the effect of the new PLI on the current minimum wage rate on yesterday

She agreed that increasing the minimum wage would reduce poverty in the country.

“It increases the incomes of employees, too.”

However, Madeline pointed out that the move might increase the financial burden of employers among the small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs), particularly in Sarawak and Sabah, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The review of the wage rate must also take into account the impact of Covid-19 on the employers, employees and Malaysia’s economic situation as a whole.

“Many SMEs find it hard to survive and retain their workers due to the lockdown. I think, for now, it is better to let the employers decide on the minimum wage rate for their workers,” she explained.