Khairy Jamaluddin & Chua Tee Yong are opposing Pakatan's proposal to set the minimum wage rate at RM1,100 a month. Both the BN politicians are claiming that the minimum wage will add burden to the nation and people. These two politicians are definitely short sighted.
A number of nations which have a minimum wage legislation and those who have seen their income per capita rising a few folds above Malaysia in the last 2-3 decades did not go bankrupt. In fact, Taiwan is a good example. It had disallowed low skilled foreign workers into the country since the late 80's in order to reserve more jobs for Taiwanese.
Chua claimed that Malaysia has three million foreign workers and by giving an additional RM200 a month to these workers as pay, it will create an outflow totalling RM7.2 billion as they transfer money to their home countries.
"If we implement the minimum wage of RM1,100, we will lose RM7.2 billion every year. The question is who will bear the cost of this RM7.2 billion? The answer is the rakyat!"
Tony Pua argues that the Pakatan Rakyat’s proposed floor wage policy of RM1100 would not cause a RM7.2 billion annual capital ouflow, it would only reduce reliance on foreign workers.
Tony is making more sense than Chua. This is precisely the intention of setting a minimum wage policy - to encourage local companies to think local when hiring and to enhance productivity. Enhancing productivity and relying on local manpower and talents are the only safeguard to guarantee our economic competitiveness. When Indonesia starts to create more jobs or when the Myanmar economy takes off full steam, the availability of foreign workers become scarce.
It is evident that both Khairy and Chua do not belong to the new generation of leaders who are committed and keen to address the long standing socio-economic issue. We need a policy to help us address long term dilemma and over dependence on cheap labour to grow our economy.
For this issue, it is clear which coalition is talking long term and which is merely being myopic and irresponsible.