Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Malaysian Minimum Wage FUD

I am not smart enough to know if a minimum wage law is beneficial for Malaysians or not. However, I can see FUD being spread about it already. In a TheStar article today, it is said that our Government (since when is this a pronoun?) fears a potential huge influx of foreign workers in certain sectors should it adopt the RM900 monthly minimum wage and RM300 cost of living allowance (Cola) advocated by MTUC.

Our Human Resources Minister goes on to say that if the MTUC’s minimum wage formula was adopted, it would have to be extended to all workers, regardless of nationality. He also says that, there was a high possibility of foreign workers, especially those from neighbouring countries such as Indonesia, coming here because they knew their minimum monthly income would be guaranteed.

Really. That is certainly shocking to me. Those who come legally will certainly be entitled to the minimum wage. Those who don't will still be at the mercy of their employers, regardless of any minimum wage. I doubt that there would be a massive influx of foreign workers in our country claiming minimum wage as immigration can be controlled through the issuance of visas. So, I think that he's just talking out of his behind.

His implication that all our local jobs will be stolen by foreigners due to minimum wage is bull. They're already taking the low income jobs anyway, with or without minimum wage. This is simply because us locals are not willing to work in those jobs. Usually, it's because it's not paid well enough or the work is too dirty. So, if the wages were raised, it might actually induce some locals to take up these jobs, and reduce the demand on foreign help.

Whether or not a minimum wage is a good thing, I wouldn't know. I'm no economist. I can see it helping the lowest income families. However, I'm not sure of it's affect on local businesses and economy. I'll leave that kind of speculation to the experts.

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