New minimum wage policy for East Malaysia to be ready by 2018

PUTRAJAYA: A new minimum wage policy will be finalised by mid-2018 to bridge the income gap between the Peninsula and East Malaysia to address the high cost of living in Sabah and Sarawak.

Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot said the newly appointed National Wage Consultative Council have already started its review of the 2016 Minimum Wage Order.

Riot said the median wage is based on employers' capability and capacity to pay wages to their employees.

"That is why the minimum wage in East Malaysia is lower than West Malaysia," he told reporters after the handover of credentials to newly appointed members of the council.

Currently, the minimum wage in the peninsular is RM1,000 and RM920 in East Malaysia which was announced in Budget 2016 and implemented on July 1 last year.

Riot said the government has tried to narrow down the income gap between the regions in the last two wage reviews.

"It is my hope to streamline the income gap whereby both east and west Malaysia will have a standard income one day," he said.

Earlier in his speech, he said the National Wage Consultative Council 2011 Act has stipulated that the Minimum Wage Order should be reviewed at least once every two years.

Riot handed over appointment letters to 25 new members of the council. This is also the first time that two members from Sabah and Sarawak respectively were appointed to the council.

The members will hold office for three years until September 2020 to study, review and advise the government on minimum wages for private sector employees.

"I hope with their appointment, workers in East Malaysia will have better representation," he said.