If Amanah’s Ammar Atan, who heads the bureau for the economy in the party’s youth wing, has any sense of understanding of the challenges confronting low and middle-income wage earners, he would not have called for the postponement of the RM1,500 minimum wage order for workers in small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Obviously, he has turned a blind eye to the workers in the small, medium and informal sectors who earn unsustainable wages.
According to reports, the prices of basic necessities such as bread, fish and vegetables have soared. Reports say the prices of various food items are expected to rocket by 60% in June!
Inflationary trends are reportedly escalating and are expected to continue due to supply chain disruptions caused by current geopolitical circumstances.
As a net food importing country, Malaysia is further hit by the depreciation of the ringgit, which translates to higher costs for imported essential food products. The reality is such increases will probably be passed on to the working people.
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So we find it completely unacceptable for Amanah’s youth wing to call for the postponement of the minimum wage for SMEs, ostensibly on the premise they were not given enough time to get ready.
The Minimum Wage Act 2012 clearly requires the national minimum wage to be revised once in two years. The management teams of SMEs ought to have read the law and prepared themselves to conform to such periodic improvements in the national minimum wage (through orders issued under the act).
It is not only repulsive but devoid of justification for Amanah youth to campaign on behalf of the SME management teams as opposed to highlighting the suffering of workers
To Amanah youth, we say pay attention to the plight of suffering workers and don’t act as a mouthpiece of the employer class!
K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress