Malaysian employers leave least for staff compensation

MALAYSIA: Employers in Malaysia are — by one measure at least — the lowest payers in Southeast Asia, with just 25% of the country's Gross Domestic Product being spent on salaries and financial compensation for employees.

According to a report by Utusan Malaysia, Singapore’s employers shell out 40% of GDP on staffing compensation, while Indonesia and the Philippines contribute 84% and 76% respectively.

Abdul Halim Mansor, president of Malaysia’s Trades Union Congress (MTUC), was in disbelief on the local findings, noting that most of the country’s employers could provide wages greater than the monthly minimum salary of MYR 1,200 (USD 287).

“Employers should want their workers to have more spending power, not make them go further into debt," he said. "When salaries are low, this gives way to people having more debts to pay, and they have to work even longer hours because of it."

Recently, discussions on upping the monthly minimum wage this year garnered several reactions from various sectors.

“A minimum wage increase isn’t just a request, it’s a necessity. We’re not asking for something unreasonable, and don’t want to bankrupt employers. We just want to see a little improvement,” he explained.

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