Monday 2 May 2011

'No high-income economy without minimum wage'

May 1, 2011
If the government cannot implement something as basic as minimum wage, then there is little point in Prime Minister Najib Razak's lofty talk of Malaysia becoming a "high-income nation", said Batu MP Tian Chua.

pkr wangsa maju ceramah 141210 tian chua"If the prime minister and human resource minister (S Subramaniam) lacks the courage to take the first step to tackle root causes such as implementing a national minimum wage, there is no need for us to aspire towards a high-income economy," said Chua (right) in his May Day statement.

"Furthermore, the target of achieving annual per capita income of USD15,000 in 2020 is only a figment of Najib's imagination and nothing but empty talk," he said.

Chua expressed disappointment in the government's failure to act on their promises.

"From the replies of the human resource minister in Parliament, it looks like the BN government has sidetracked from their earlier commitment to implement minimum wage. Instead their only move is to suggest the setting up of a National Wage Council."

"This shows that BN has betrayed the interests of the common worker," he said, adding that BN has failed to live up to its promises and could not care less for the plight of the working class.

"On this International Labour Day, I stress that Pakatan Rakyat will not dilly dally in implementing a minimum wage policy.

"We are also committed to amending Acts that are repressive against the rights of workers and trade unions," said the Batu MP.

NONEMeanwhile PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (right) in her May Day statement today blamed the racist policies of the BN government for Malaysia's problems of rising prices and brain drain, as revealed in a recent World Bank report on the country's economy.

"PKR and Pakatan ... are committed in our efforts in accelerating our economy into one that is prestigious, sustainable and fair, through the introduction of a minimum wage for all workers and defending the rights of workers to form trade unions in accordance with international standards," she said.

Learn from South Korea
DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in his May Day message today said that Malaysia should learn from the experience of South Korea, whose GDP in 1970 was a third of Malaysia's but is now three times ours, because it valued its human capital.

"One of the main factors for the revival in South Korea's economy is their recognition and focus on human resources development," said Lim, who is also Penang chief minister.

"What (our government) is trying to hide is the fact that the failure of our economic policies reflects the failure to implement a human resource policy that places importance on workers and productivity.

NONE"The use of foreign workers with low salaries has crippled salary increases that should follow increased productivity and technological skills.

"Furthermore, training is not given to local workers, but to foreigners who are a drain to our resources." said Lim (left).

"Consequently, our workers, whether blue collar or white collar, are forced to bear the brunt of negative economic effects such as rising prices of goods and services, while wages have not budged and social problems fester," he said.

Lim cited the World Bank report that an estimated 20 percent of Malaysia's talent has fled the country since 2000, while two million largely low skilled foreign workers flood the country.

"It is no wonder Malaysia cannot achieve robust economic performance compared to our neighbours, what with the replacement of two million highly skilled Malaysians (who have left for developed countries) being replaced by two million lowly educated foreign workers."

"This disproportionate situation has negatively impacted Malaysians. But the BN government is more concerned with playing racial politics than to attract back talent who have left," he said.

Lim added that it was strange that with the country's economic success (as touted by the PM) and with the strength of the ringgit as recently reported, not a single sign is visible and inflation is still on the rise.

"(With the rise in prices) it is also surprising where the money all the money has gone, the investments that the government has said has increased six-fold? Surely something is not right here," said Lim.

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