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MTUC slams MCA as spokesman of the wealthy

January 24, 2013

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 – A trade unions group has criticised the MCA for its alleged demand for a reversal of the minimum wage policy, while urging Putrajaya not to backtrack on this issue.

The Malaysian Trades Unions Congress (MTUC) described MCA president Dr Chua Soi Lek’s reported “ultimatum” to the human resource minister as “most disturbing but not suprising”.

“MCA as the spokesman of the wealthy have little choice but to vocally advocate the demands of industry bosses: Understandably Dr Chua does not care for the needs of workers who slog daily for wages as low as RM500 a month,” MTUC’s secretary-general Abdul Halim Mansor wrote in a statement dated yesterday.

On Tuesday, Dr Chua reportedly said that he wants Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam to resolve issues related to the minimum wage before the coming Chinese New Year.

He told reporters that all MCA members would support demonstrations by employers if the human resource ministry does not decide on the proposal to include foreign worker levies, transportation and housing costs in the minimum wage.

“We believe we have offered a proposal that is reasonable. I don’t understand why it has taken the ministry over three weeks now to decide,” Dr Chua had said, adding that these “extra costs” together with the minimum wage would pose a challenge, especially for small business owners.

“Many of them have been asking to hold demonstrations, many are even MCA members… but we have asked them to give us some time but if there is no decision after the Chinese New Year, we can no longer hold them back…we will tell them, ‘do what needs to be done,’” Dr Chua had also said.

But MTUC claimed that the MCA was issuing an ultimatum “demanding that the government make a U-turn” on the wage floor.

The umbrella body for local trade unions went on to stress that it firmly supports the minimum wage policy, which was gazetted as law last July.

Under the policy that was announced by the prime minister last April, the private sector now has to provide a base wage of RM900 and RM800 to employees in peninsular Malaysia and east Malaysia respectively.

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