Malaysian government is looking to hike the minimum wage

Malaysian government is looking to hike the minimum wage

Malaysia is considering raising the country’s minimum wage to encourage a better take-up of the many job opportunities created by the government.

Human Resources Minister Saravanan Murugan said that despite the job-creating initiatives it has been “challenging for the ministry to convince employers to offer attractive salaries to potential workers”. The government has pledged to create 600,000 new jobs through the JaminKerja initiative.

“If they do not get anything more than [the current minimum wage] RM1,200 ($285), I think they’ll prefer to be in the gig economy. This is a big challenge,” Saravanan said. He added that the government is considering increasing the minimum wage to around RM1,500.

“If not, we will face a challenge in convincing them to take up the opportunities rolled out by agencies under the ministry,” he said.

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government is talking with employers about the RM1,500 minimum wage to enable it to be implemented across the board.

He said: “We are undertaking engagement with all employers on this minimum wage, because there are companies that can afford it but there are also those that are too small and can’t.

“We’re afraid that if they can’t afford it, they will retrench workers and this will add to unemployment numbers.

“We are not protecting employers, our interest is employees… if employees’ minimum wage can be raised to RM1,500, that is for the best,” he said.


Target groups for employment

Saravanan added that the government expects 300,000 people to get a job through JaminKerja this year, adding that RM2bn had been allocated for initiatives related to these target groups.

JaminKerja is an extension of the PenjanaKerjaya scheme that helped more than 200,000 unemployed people secure jobs in 2021.

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said RM1.7bn has been allocated under the MySTEP scheme, which is set to create 80,000 job opportunities.

MyStep is a programme under the National Strategic Coordination Agency (Laksana) where short-term contract jobs are offered at government-linked companies.

Last year, 63,221 graduates found placements under MySTEP, with 66% employed under ministries and government agencies, and 34% at government-linked companies and strategic partners.

“Therefore, I hope job seekers will make good use of all the opportunities under the Finance Ministry and Human Resources Ministry, whether through this job carnival or online through portals such as MyFutureJobs; MySTEP and UpSkillMalaysia,” he said.