The minimum wage of RM1,500 is still maintained under the policy framework of the progressive wage system to be introduced by the government, said Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar.

He said the progressive wage system, which is seen as the most relevant to be instituted in Malaysia, needs to be practised in tandem with the minimum wage and increase the productivity of workers so as to benefit employers as well.

“The minimum wage of RM1,500 is the baseline, if we lower the minimum wage figure, that is not progressive, but regressive,” he told a press conference after the Labour Dialogue here today.

The progressive wage system is a transition from a minimum wage model to a gradual and phased wage increase so that it corresponds to the country’s economic growth.

On Thursday, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said the progressive wage system policy had been approved at the Cabinet level and the details will be tabled in Budget 2024 in October, with its expected implementation in April or May next year.

Meanwhile, Sivakumar said the National Economic Action Council (NEAC) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to detail the policy guidelines also stipulated that the implementation of the progressive wage system for employees was not mandatory for all private employers.

“When we set RM1,500 as the minimum wage, it does not involve the issue of productivity, therefore we want skilled and talented workers to be paid commensurately immediately, becoming an added value and asset to their employer to stay employed.

“In time to come, employers will gradually realise the need to implement progressive wages. So, for the initial stage, we will let employers decide whether they want to use the progressive wage system or not,” he said.

The dialogue, which discussed labour issues in the state, was also attended by the Deputy Minister in the Sarawak Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala, Sarawak Manpower Department director Awang Raduan Awang Omar, employers, trade unions and training providers in Sarawak.

Sivakumar also said that his ministry would look into the proposed drafting of the Salary Advertisement Act so that employers would be more transparent by requiring them to post a salary scale for jobs offered in the advertisements.

“The proposal is good for the people and what is good for the people, we are ready to consider. We will discuss with stakeholders on the details of this matter," he said, adding that for now, the act does not oblige employers to do so.

Earlier, Muar Member of Parliament Syed Saddiq Syed Abd Rahman through the social media platform X made the proposal to give graduates and workers the opportunity to evaluate the best salary offer for them.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency