A Minimum Monthly Wage Of RM 1,100 Combined With A Grace Period For SMEs For 5 Years Would Serve To Increase Income For Malaysians And Help Economic Growth By Protecting Malaysian SMEs.(en/cn)

Opening Speech By DAP Secretary-General and MP For Bagan Lim Guan Eng During The Johor DAP State Ordinary Convention In Batu Pahat On 12.1.2014.

The price hikes by the BN Federal government this year in sugar, petrol, power tariffs and road tolls has highlighted the sad fact that wages can not keep up with inflation. Real wages of export-oriented industries rose by 1.9% whilst that of domestic-oriented industries rose by 1.4% after 1997.

DAP proposes a minimum monthly wage of RM 1,100 combined with a grace period for SMEs for 5 years would serve to increase income for Malaysians and help economic growth by protecting Malaysian SMEs. I believe thatPR’s minimum wage policy is 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 minimum monthly wage to all foreign and local workers.

Further Malaysia loses out when foreign workers send most of their money home. Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan told Parliament last month that 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 double when the minimum wage is fully applied. 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.

The 6 factors of corruption and crime, minimum wage policy, hikes in petrol price, power tariffs and highway tolls are will not only lead to inflation but also negatively impact salary increment and bonuses for 14.2 million Malaysian workers in 2014. The Department of Statistics has indicated a softening of the Malaysian economy with seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for October 2013 increasing to 3.5% from 3.1% in September 2013.

Corruption has caused a damaging effect on the Malaysian economy. Malaysia ranked fourth in the world with RM173.84 billion (US$54.18 billion) of illicit funds outflow or dirty money siphoned out of Malaysia in 2011, but is the world champion in terms of per capita due to Malaysia’s smaller population. According to Washington-based financial watchdog Global Financial Integrity (GFI) Report, the illicit funds outflow from 2002-11 is RM1.2 trillion or USD 370.38 billion lost from dirty money. Or nearly RM 4,300 lost per Malaysian over the last 10 years.

The impact of proper accountability can be seen at the local level with the dangerous building in Pontian, as a result of negligent or no monitoring whatsoever by the relevant authorities. How many more such buildings are there in Johor? What ethical authority and justification has the Federal government in raising prices when it refuses to implement open competitive tenders, publicly declare assets and punish those involved in malpractices such as exposed in the annual Auditor-General Reports?

Where is the moral imperative to raise prices when the Federal government has no political will to fight corruption and turns a blind eye to the purchase of luxurious properties by BN cronies and its family members not just in Malaysia but also overseas amounting to hundreds of millions of ringgit, whilst ordinary Malaysians struggle with rising prices and rising household debt of 83.5% of GDP,the second highest in Asia?

Malaysians made the right choice in rejecting BN’s economic mismanagement by giving PR 51% of the popular vote against BN’s 47% during the last general elections. Clearly the BN manifesto of providing economic benefits to the rakyat is simply a lie, including no highway toll increase, that has exposed BN as a party without any credibility and betrayed the trust of even its minority 47% supporters.

For those who claim that investment is declining in Penang, I wish to refer to a to a Parliamentary written reply from the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak to DAP Kuching MP Chong Chien Jen in September 2013,

“Bagi tempoh 2010 hingga Ogos 2013, sejumlah 3,023 projek perkilangan dengan pelaburan berjumlah RM174.3 bilion telah diluluskan. Daripada jumlah tersebut, sebanyak RM102.9 bilion (59 peratus) merupakan pelaburan asing, manakala RM71.3 bilion (41 peratus) adalah pelaburan tempatan.

Dalam tempoh yang sama, lima negeri yang mencatat jumlah pelaburan asing tertinggi adalah:
• Pulau Pinang (RM19.7 bilion daripada 186 projek perkilangan).
• Johor (RM16.7 bilion daripada 374 projek perkilangan).
• Sarawak (RM15.6 bilion daripada 54 projek perkilangan).
• Selangor (RM15 bilion daripada 439 projek perkilangan).
• Kedah (RM8 bilion daripada 79 projek perkilangan).

If Penang can be No.1 under PR, Johor can definitely be No.1 under PR.


——Mandarin Version —















• 槟城 (186项工厂投资,值197亿令吉)
• 柔佛 (374项工厂投资,值167亿令吉).
• 砂拉越 (54项工厂投资,156亿令吉).
• 雪兰莪 (439项工厂投资,150亿令吉).
• 吉打 (79项工厂投资,80亿令吉).

如果槟城在民联治理下投资额可以居冠,若民联执政柔佛州, 柔佛也能成为第一名。