Sunday, September 6, 2009

Maids minimum wage ‘not feasible’

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia cannot fix a minimum wage just for domestic maids in the country as such a move could lead to implications in other sectors.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the Employment Act did not fix a minimum wage for any sector in the country.

“As a country with an open economy, wages in an industry are determined by existing market forces.

“Malaysia cannot have a minimum wage for only one employment sector, which is maids. If this is implemented, it will lead to implications in other sectors.

“Based on what the ministry has received from the public, the proposal to raise the minimum wage to RM800 a month for maids is too high to be borne by employers,” she said in a statement here Saturday, adding that the Government should look properly into the matter.

Indonesia has demanded a minimum wage of RM800 for maids from the country.

Indonesian maids in the country are now being paid an average of between RM450 and RM600 monthly.

Shahrizat was responding to reports quoting Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia Da’i Bachtiar as saying that Jakarta would be making the higher wage demand in its negotiations.

In Seremban, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam confirmed that Indonesia was demanding a RM800 minimum wage, saying that it was under “pressure” to do so from the republic’s local media following reports of so-called rampant abuse of maids by Malaysian employers.

“We told them that this is not fair as 99.9% of the 280,000 Indonesian maids here are treated well. Only 0.1% may be ill-treated or not have their salaries paid but they (the Indonesian government) are being pressured by their media,” he said. - The Star

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