Price Hikes In Sugar, Petrol, TNB Power Tariffs And Highway Road Tolls Together With The Minimum Wage Enjoyed By All Foreign Workers Could Adversely Result In A Clear And Definite Danger Of Either Inflation Or Business Closures Of SMEs.(en/cn)

Press Statement By DAP Secretary-General And MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng In Kuala Lumpur On 24.1.2014.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers’ (FMM) warning that an increase in tolled road charges will raise prices of raw materials, which will be passed on as higher prices consumer goods, is not surprising. FMM said that the recent increase in electricity rates and the proposed toll hikes would also dampen domestic consumption and affect export competitiveness.

FMM’s survey of their members showed that transportation providers are expected to increase their transportation fees by up to 30% when toll charges were increased, coupled with an increase in travelling claims of their staff. However the full impact of the implementation of minimum wage policy that covers foreign workers have not been factored in, especially the adverse impact on Small and Medium scale Enterprises(SMEs).

The full implementation of the minimum wage policy(RM900 in peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak) in 2014 affects nearly 1.8 million workers, mostly migrant workers, as compared to 1.5 million workers in 2013. The Malaysian Employers Federation estimated that the labour cost of foreign workers in SMEs is estimated to increase by 40% to 60%, resulting in an increase in total costs for some SMEs by up to 10%. The average increase in productivity by 2-3% per year would not be sufficient to compensate for the increase in costs of 10%.

The impact from the minimum wage would come from higher overtime charges for foreign employees who work an average of four hours of overtime per day as well as on rest days and public holidays.The price hikes in sugar, petrol, TNB power tariffs and highway road tolls together with the minimum wage enjoyed by all foreign workers could adversely result in a clear and definite danger of either inflation or business closures of SMEs.

DAP proposes that the minimum monthly wage be increased to RM 1,100 combined with a grace period to SMEs for 5 years from extending to foreign workers, would help to increase income for 14.2 million Malaysian workers and help economic growth by protecting Malaysian SMEs. This rise in mimimum wage for Malaysian workers will help to offset rising prices. RM 1,100 monthly is acceptable to Small and Medium Entreprises(SMEs) provided that it does not cover foreign workers. After the 5 years grace period, SMEs have to pay the same minimum monthly wage to all foreign and local workers.

Further Malaysia loses out when foreign workers send most of their money home. Remittances by legal foreign workers doubled from RM 10 billion in 2009 to almost RM20 billion last year. The top five countries that received remittances from Malaysia in 2012 are Bangladesh (RM3 billion), Indonesia (RM3 billion), Nepal (RM2 billion), India (RM625 million) and the Philippines (RM561 million).

This RM20 billion foreign workers’ remittances are expected to rise to nearly RM 30 billion when the minimum wage is fully applied to all foreign workers beginning from 1.1.2014. Malaysian employers and employees should be looked after first by ensuring that employees enjoy a higher minimum monthly wage of RM 1,100 and giving SMEs, a grace period of at least 5 years for SMEs to adjust before extending this minimum wage to foreign workers.

Unlike BN, the PR state government in Penang is proud that we did not increase business license fees, water rates, quit rent and assessment charges. To distract attention from the price hikes by the BN Federal government in sugar, petrol, power tariffs and road toll, BN stokes the fires of racial and religious hatred. We should not fall into BN’s traps of economic mismanagement that has caused the people to suffer rising costs of living.

LIM GUAN ENG

—–Mandarin Version —–

民主行动党秘书长及峇眼国会议员林冠英于2014年1月24日在吉隆坡发表的文告:

白糖、汽油、国能电力、大道过路费等皆涨价,加上涵盖外劳的最低薪金制,可能引发明确和显著的危机,不是通货膨胀、即是中小企业面临倒闭,

马来西亚厂商公会(FMM)已发出警告,大道过路费涨价将提高原料价格,转嫁至消费物品的售价上,这不足为奇。马来西亚厂商公会透露,最近电费涨价和调涨过路费的建议,将抑制国内的消费能力,并影响出口竞争力。

马来西亚厂商公会会员调查报告显示,随著大道过路费调涨,加上员工们的行驶津贴增加,预料会导致运输服务业将调涨30%。然而,这尚未将涵盖外劳的最低薪金制政策考量在内,尤其会对中小型企业造成的负面影响。

2014年全面落实的最低薪金制(半岛900令吉和 沙巴和砂拉越800令吉)后将影响近180万名员工, 尤其是外劳,2013年仅有150万工人。马来西亚雇主联合会预计,中小企业的外劳成本将预计会提升40%至60%, 让中小型企业的总成本增加10%。因此,每年2至3%的平均生产率是不足以弥补增加的10%成本。

外劳每天平均加班4个小时,另还有休假日和公假日,最低薪金制将为他们增加收入。显然,白糖、汽油、国能电力、大道过路费等皆涨价,加上涵盖最低薪金制的所有外劳,可能会导致通货膨胀或中小企业面临倒闭,出现明确和显著的不利危机。

民主行动党建议的最低薪金制标准提升至1100令吉,并给予中小型企业5年宽限期,才真正推行到外劳,这有助于提高1420万马来西亚人民的收入,并帮助经济成长维护中小型企业。最低薪金制的提升能够抵制物价上涨。每月1100令吉对中小型企业而言,是可以接受的。5年宽限期后,中小企业必须支付相同的最低工资予所有本地和外籍员工。

再说,外劳汇钱回乡导致马来西亚损失外汇。合法外劳的汇款已从2009年100亿倍升至去年200亿令吉。2012年收到马来西亚汇款的首5个国家有孟加拉(30亿令 吉)、印尼(30亿令吉)、尼泊尔(20亿)、印度(6亿2500万令吉)及菲律宾(5亿6100万令吉)。

一旦于2014年1月1日开始全面实施最新低薪制后,预计20 亿外籍员工的汇款将增加至近30亿。马来西亚雇主和雇员首先应确保本地员工享有1100令吉的最低薪金制,并让中小型企业拥有至少5年的宽限期,以扩展至外劳的最低薪金制。

槟州民联政府不同于国阵,我们自豪于没有增涨政府官方营业执照费、水费、土地税和门牌税。 国阵联邦政府为转移白糖、汽油、电力和过路费涨价的焦点,竟然诉诸点燃了种族和宗教仇恨之火。我们不应被国阵的幌子蒙蔽,真正原因是它经济管理不善,导致人民承受成百物上涨。

林冠英

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