KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 (ES) - The government should seriously consider the workers' demand for minimum wages to be legislated in view of the rising costs of living including the rising price of staple foodstuff.
Islamic Party of(PAS) information chief Mahfuz Omar said it was "unreasonable" for anyone to have a salary lower than the RM900 proposed by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) especially in high profit sectors.
"Workers have to face increasing costs of living and it is unacceptable to oppress the working class at a time when even the price of rice is on the rise," Mahfuz who is also Pokok Sena parliamentary member said.
He said this when met at the parliamentary lobby today. He was asked to comment on the move taken by some 200 MTUC leaders to hold a peaceful assembly at the parliament entrance here.
They were demanding for the legislation of a Minimum Wage Act, including RM900 minimum salary and a RM300 allowance for cost of living (COLA). In addition, they were also expressing their dissatisfaction with the amendments to the labour law during the last parliamentary sitting that they said eroded the rights of workers.
No excuse not to have Minimum Wage Act
Wangsa Maju parliamentary member (MP) Wee Chee Keong, Padang Serai MP N. Gobalakrishnan and Kota Damansara state assemblyman Dr. Nasir Hashim were among those present to lend moral support to the protesting workers.
MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud said there should be no excuse for the government not to legislate the Minimum Wage Act.
He noted that most countries in the region had legislated the Act and the government's move to increase the salary of civil servants twice in recent years did not cause adverse side effects to the country.
"The minimum wage (Act) is important to the workers in," he told journalists in a press conference at the parliamentary lobby after he handing in a memorandum to Parliamentary Opposition Leader Dr Wan Azizah Ismail.
Syed Shahir said several parliamentary members from the ruling coalition had also expressed support for the Act but he did not name them . Pakatan Rakyat leaders were also supportive of the Act in particular former Parliamentary Opposition Leader Lim Kit Siang, and PAS treasurer Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli.
Syed Shahir said that MTUC had planned to hand the memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi after the premier failed to respond to a similar memorandum sent in 2007 but was told that Abdullah is currently out of the country.
Abdullah had earlier pre-empted the peaceful assembly by saying that the government simply could not afford to legislate the Minimum Wages Act which would trigger further inflation.- Saadon Aksah/ES
Probable Source: Englishsection
Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."