Minimum wage soon for Malaysia

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia - The Government hopes to announce the minimum wage for workers before year-end, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said here.

He said the newly set-up National Wages Consultative Council (NWCC) was entrusted to come out with recommendations on a minimum wage within two and a half months.

Speaking to reporters after presenting appointment letters to 25 members of the independent NWCC, he said a technical committee had already undertaken an exhaustive study on wages in the country.

"The NWCC has all the information. There is no need for them to start afresh.

"They must make decisions based on the information given to them from today," he said, adding that a figure for the minimum wage had also been arrived at.

Dr Subramaniam said it was up to the council to look at the figure from their perspective and make the decision.

The NWCC Bill, which was gazetted on Sept 15 and came into effect on Sept 23, empowers the council to decide on a minimum wage and also undertake studies.

Former Chief Judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong is the NWCC chairman and former Human Resources Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Syed Mohamad Syed Abdul Kadir his deputy.

The council will have six members each representing workers and employers, five from other sectors and five from the Government. It will be assisted by a secretary.

On the proposal to extend the retirement age of workers in the private sector, Dr Subramaniam said discussions were still on-going.

"In principle, both the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, employers and the Government have agreed that we can go ahead to implement a retirement age for the private sector but the exact age is still under discussion," he said.

Dr Subramaniam said the Malaysian Employers Federation had given its views and these were being looked into by the ministry.