KUALA LUMPUR – The minimum wage rate is being reviewed to ensure earnings of workers remain relevant with current economic conditions, said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, reported Bernama.
The prime minister said the government is always concerned about the issue of the minimum wage and would take efforts to better protect workers’ rights.
“I hope all parties would get involved and urge those wishing to voice their views and suggestions on this issue to participate through the platform that is provided,” he said in his 2021 Workers’ Day address aired over local television on May 1.
He said this is part of efforts taken by the government in the past one year under its three-pronged strategy to help workers weather challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first strategy is to retain jobs, the second is to protect workers’ rights and the third is to create job opportunities, he added.
Muhyiddin also said the government is in the process of improving and amending labour laws, especially the Employment Act 1955 by widening its scope of application.
He said this includes covering all workers in the private sector regardless of their salaries, extending maternity leave to 90 days and giving three days’ paternity leave, reducing the weekly working hours from 48 to 45, and introducing a flexible work schedule.
Muhyiddin also touched on the government’s efforts to reduce unemployment, including the implementation of national job matching and employment services portal MYFutureJobs, one-stop centre Upskill Malaysia and short-term employment programme MySTEP.
As of April 16, a total of 30,377 people had found jobs under the MySTEP programme.
In a bid to reduce dependence on foreign workers and increase the number of skilled workers in the country, the government, through the Skills Development Fund Corporation, will introduce the Convertible Loan Policy Programme for Skills Training Loan at the Malaysian Skills Advanced Diploma level, he said.
As the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) to contain the COVID-19 pandemic had forced many training institutions to close, the government has taken the initiative to create a new learning hub called “e-LATiH” to help the people.
The prime minister said the learning hub enables the people to access for free more than 300 training modules on skills development tailored to the needs of industries.
Muhyiddin also described workers as frontliners of the national economy and development who play an important role in ensuring prosperity for all strata of society.
He said although the government had done a lot to help workers, certain groups were still being affected by the pandemic and needed more time to regain the kind of life they had before COVID-19 reared its ugly head.
However, Muhyiddin is confident that the people, especially workers, are resilient and will come together to help revive the country’s economy.
“Your role as a strategic partner in developing the country’s economy all this while is very important and much appreciated by the government,” he said.
Muhyiddin also extended his greetings to all workers in the public and private sectors, as well as members and leaders of workers’ unions in conjunction with Workers’ Day 2021, which is themed “Pembudayaan Norma Baharu Dalam Dunia Pekerjaan Sejagat” (Embracing the New Normal in Universal World of Employment).