Friday, May 04, 2012

Gaji Minima Sabah - Perlukah Dipolitikkan Pembangkang


Saya merujuk kepada pengumuman Perdana Menteri berhubung gaji minima sektor swasta di Sabah.

Selepas mempertimbangkan pandangan Majlis Perundingan Gaji Negara (MPGN) yang mewaili sebahagian besar majikan serta kakitangan di Sabah dan pakar ekonomi termasuk daripada Bank Dunia, kadar RM800 ditetapkan sebagai gaji minima di Sabah.

Seperti dijangka, pembangkang pantas menjadikan isu ini sebagai modal politik. Mereka megkritik kadar gaji minima itu sebagai terlalu rendah, selain menganggapnya tidak adil berikutan kadar berbeza yang ditetapkan di Semenanjung.

Pertamanya, gaji minima bukannya tongkat sakti untuk menyelesaikan segala masalah ekonomi dan cabaran yang dihadapi kakitangan berpendapatan rendah. Kerajaan mempunyai pelbagai kaedah lain dalam membantu mereka, termasuk subsidi mencecah berbilion ringgit, pemberian tunai dan kursus latihan bagi meningkatkan kemahiran masing-masing.

Gaji minimum bukan bertujuan mengubah status golongan berpendapatan rendah kepada kumpulan berpendapatan tinggi. Gaji minima lebih menjurus kepada penanda aras asas supaya gaji ditawarkan tidak kurang daripada kadar ditetapkan kerajaan. Majikan boleh menawarkan gaji lebih tinggi jika berasa pekerja layak menerimanya berdasarkan kelayakan dan kemahiran.

Ada perbezaan besar pendekatan antara Barisan Nasional dan Pakatan Rakyat dalam isu ini. Pakatan Rakyat melihatnya dari pandangan populis dan oleh sebab itu hanya berminat untuk melihatnya dari pespektif pekerja semata-mata (tidak menghairankan kerana pekerja merupakan pengundi teramai). Berbeza dengan kerajaan yang perlu berlaku adil dan bertanggungjawab kepada semua pihak.

In defence of Sabah Minimum Wage

I refer to the recent annoucement by the Prime Minister on the minimum wage for Sabah.


After careful consideration both by the National Wage Consultative Council and by the economic experts including from World Bank, the RM800 amount was decided as minimum wage for the state.
As expected the opposition was quick to turn this into a contentious issue to gain political mileage. They criticised the minimum wage as being too low and also unfair because of the different rate offered in Peninsular Malaysia.


First of all, minimum wage is not a magic wand to solve all economic problems and challenges faced by the lower income society. The government has other tools to help them, which among others, through billions of ringgit of subsidies, direct transfer of cash and training courses to re-skill them.


We must not be misled in thinking that minimum wage is meant to make the poor becoming high income earners overnight. That is never the intention. The minimum wage is a floor benchmark where salary can't go down below the amount decided by the government. This is to ensure employers pay reasonable salary. Of course employers can offer higher if they think the employees deserve it based on their qualification and skill.


There is a big difference between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat on the issue. PR is looking at it from populist view and thus insterested only to look at the employees point of view (where the vote bank is). 

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