HR Minister: Some employers will be exempt from wage hike

MALAYSIA: The much-awaited minimum wage increase in the country is set to take effect nationwide in May, but it will not apply to all sectors of the economy immediately.

Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan has advised that a few sectors will have the flexibility to implement the changes later on. Exemptions have been extended to companies employing fewer than five people, and sectors still suffering major losses from the pandemic, including hotels and tourism. The exemptions could further extend as the minister deems.

"Odd-job workers are still earning MYR 500 to MYR 600 salary (per month). If I force companies to pay them MYR 1,500 (USD 347), they will soon be out of a job," he said.

The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), however, claims that the minimum wage hike could also be difficult for small clinics that general practitioners manage. MMA President Dr Koh Kar Chai said, "Private clinics are not like other sectors, where price increases can be passed on to the consumers. The healthcare practice is heavily regulated."

The doctor is referring to the Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998, which mandates third party administrators to control the doctors’ fees. Dr Chai pointed out general practitioners are incapable of increasing medical charges to compensate for their employees’ higher wages.

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