Thursday 4 October 2012

Minimum wage won't bankrupt SMIs, Khairy told

  • Hazlan Zakaria
  • 1:37PM Oct 4, 2012
Government tardiness in automating, modernising and providing a financial support system for small and medium scale industries, is the thing which will kill off small and medium scale industries, not a minimum wage policy, argued Pakatan.

"The problem is not the minimum wage per se, but the lack of a support sustem," said PKR veep Tian Chua at a press conference in the Parliament lobby today.

DAP's Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong, who was also at the press conference, argued that only the bottom portion of Malaysia's business, namely SMIs, will be affected by the minimum wage policy.

This sector he said has been ignored by the government unlike big companies which has been given tax incentives and preferential treatment.

He posited that any cost increase, not just labour cost, will affect the SMIs as they still operate a labour intensive low-technology operations much like they did since the 70s.

This, the Pakatan leaders argued, is the structural problem that the BN-led government has thus fair failed to address.

Liew challenged BN Youth and the government to declassify a secret World Bank report which detailed the effects that a minimum wage policy might have on Malaysia, which he said would support their counter-argument today.

Tian Chua also countered Khairy’s allegations that Pakatan never consulted with anyone over their proposed minimum wage figure, adding that the party held long meetings with stakeholders including trade unions.

Indeed, he wants Khairy and the government to state how they came up with their proposed RM900 minimum wage for the peninsula and the RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak.

“The have never explained how they got those numbers and what is the rationale.”

The figure, he said, is a mismatch with the higher cost of living in Sabah and Sarawak.

Liew and the Batu MP, along with fellow Pakatan leaders DAP Klang MP Charles Santiago and PAS Kuala Selangor MP Dzukefly Ahmad were hitting out at BN Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin who yesterday accused the opposition’s proposed RM1,100 minimum wage policy as the creation of “brainless populists” that will bankrupt SMIs.

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