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“You represent Rakyat, not businesses” Anwar slams Ismail Sabri for not implementing minimum wage hike

Yesterday (2 March), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim urged the government to continue with the implementation of the minimum wage policy without yielding to the conglomerates’ objections against the proposed minimum wage hike.

Speaking in the parliament, he reminded the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that he should be advocating the voices of the public, instead of protecting the employers’ interest.

Anwar said some giant corporations in the country have recorded strong profits due to higher productivity but at the same time had oppose the minimum wage policy implementation.

“There are companies that have chalked up earnings of tens of billions of ringgit, but in discussions about minimum wage, hesitancy is seen not only at the government level but also among the private sector.”

“There are plantation firms in timber and oil palm industries which make very high profits but the amount given back to the low-level workers is miniscule,” he said.

Anwar then cited the prime minister’s recent discussion with some of the big corporations, where they disagreed with the minimum wage hike.

Source: Malay Mail

“Is this prime minister the representative of the businesses or the people?”

“Where in the world (does this happen)? Look at Bernie Sanders, he became popular because he acts as a spokesman for normal citizens,” he said.

Anwar’s remarks are believed to be in response to Ismail Sabri’s statement on 19 February, when he claimed that many companies disagreed with the proposed increment of the minimum wage to RM1,500.

Previously, Ismail Sabri said his concern lies in smaller businesses that may not be able to afford to pay their workers which could lead to retrenchment.

“We are not protecting employers; our interest is employees. If the employees’ minimum wage can be raised to RM1,500, that is for the best,” he said.

According to Anwar, the wage increase in Malaysia is still at a very low level against the productivity growth compared to other developed nations.

He said that it would be unfair for workers to remain on a minimum wage of between RM1,100 to RM1,200 presently when larger corporations make billions of ringgit in profit each year.


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