Legalise them but no citizenship
Published on: Wednesday, August 01, 2018
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Kota Kinabalu: The Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) Sabah will propose to the Government to grant proper documents to illegals and stateless foreign workers in Sabah so that they can work in Sabah or Peninsular Malaysia rather than hiring those from Nepal or Bangladesh."The State Government could approach the Federal Government to recruit them to so they could work legally and contribute to the economy," said MICCI Sabah Chairman Datuk Seri Wong Khen Thau.

In addition, he said the Government should amend the immigration laws to strictly prohibit citizenship for these foreign workers, illegals or stateless individuals in order to relieve the fear of the locals being displaced politically.

He said MICCI would also propose a two tier minimum wage rate for private sector employees in the state, one of which is RM1,100 for untrained and unskilled fresh school leavers.

The Federal Government is set to implement new RM1,500 minimum wage for the private sector nationwide.

He said a lower rate is necessary as companies in Sabah as well as Sarawak are unable to sustain the higher minimum wage rate compared with those in Peninsula Malaysia.

"MICCI Sabah will propose that the minimum wage be revised to RM1,100 with a government subsidy of RM100 to be paid directly to the employees," he said.

He pointed out that the cost of doing business in Sabah is also higher due to many reasons such as high logistics costs resulting from higher input costs.

He said MICCI Sabah does not object to the proposed new minimum wage of RM1,500 but, according to its two-tier proposal, it should be for private sector employees who hold a diploma or recognised technical training qualifications.

He said SPM school leavers would also qualify for this minimum wage scale provided they have more than five years' work experience in the same industry.

Minimum wage under the National Wage Consultative Council Act 2011 of the Sabah Labour Ordinance Cap 67 refers to basic wages only, excluding allowances or other payments.

The Minimum Wage Order was first implemented on Jan. 1, 2013 and the latest revision on July 1, 2016.

The next review is due this year.

The current minimum wage is RM1,000 in Peninsula Malaysia and RM920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

Pakatan Harapan promised to raise the minimum wage to RM1,500 per month nationwide within their first term, which would be decided and announced within 100 days after the formation of the new government.

The government would bear 50 per cent of the RM500 increase and the minimum wage in Sabah and Sarawak would be equalised with Peninsula Malaysia.

He said industries in Sabah believe that the increase from RM920 to RM1,500 per month will create cost push inflation which will further increase the cost of doing business in the state.

"With high cost of doing business, many will be forced to close down their businesses.

Others may resort to cutting down the number of workers or they may pass the extra costs to end users.

This will make Sabah less competitive in the region and more expensive for foreign investors to invest," said Wong.

He also said that the proposed minimum wage must commensurate with productivity gains.

He noted that a recent study showed that nearly 30 per cent of SPM school leavers will not continue their studies because they find the minimum wage attractive.

He said this is not good for human capital development in the state.

"It is proposed that the government should encourage non-skilled school leavers to continue their studies to at least accomplish diploma level in order to acquire the necessary skills required by the industries or level of skills that commensurate with the minimum wage.

"For SPM school leavers who enter the work force directly without basic skills, they are encouraged to work in the same industry for five years. With the five-year working experience, they would be able to acquire the required skills in the particular industry and hence, be entitled for the proposed minimum wage of RM1,500," he said. - Leonard Alaza


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