Employees feel more secure financially

KUALA LUMPUR - The announcement of the minimum wage for the private sector was received with gratitude by housewife and mother of eight, Siti Rafedah Maalip, 39,

"My husband works as a security guard and he is the sole breadwinner. All of our children are still in school and money is getting tighter every year," she said, adding that the minimum wage would help to lighten the family's financial burden.

"The government has gone the extra mile to help people like me."

Minimum wage in the peninsula has been set at RM900 (S$400), or RM4.33 an hour. For Sabah, Labuan and Sarawak, it is RM800 or RM3.85 an hour.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in announcing the minimum wage on Monday, said it was in preparation for Malaysia to tranform into a high-income nation by 2020.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the minimum wage would ensure workers had secure income monthly.

"Labour law states that there should not be any discrimination of wage based on nationality, gender and age if the workload performed is the same. Therefore, the minimum wage also includes foreign workers.

"Contract and part-time workers should also receive minimum wage even if they are paid on an hourly basis."

For contract worker Rahimaton Nurul' Ain Abu Seman, 29, the minimum wage was indeed good news.

"Considering the increase in cost of living, the announcement came at an appropriate time. It shows the government's concern for the people."

For businesswoman Norshahidahbariyah Abdul, 44, who has been paying her employees a minimum salary of RM900, what was important was the loyalty of a worker.

"I did not face any problem when I started paying them RM900 and that does not include overtime and working on a public holiday."

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