What we should focus on

Some lament about the FDI. Some scream about Malay Supremacy (Ketuanan Melayu). Others worry about what T-shirt or jersey we wear. There are those who would like all Malays absorbed into just one political party for the sake of ‘Malay unity’ — and so on and so forth. But all these people overlook one important thing — and that is the quality of life in Malaysia and what your Ringgit can buy.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The average price of houses in the UK is roughly RM700,000. This is based on the nation-wide house prices although in some instances you could be looking at millions depending on locality and type of house. But a ‘working man’ would need to fork out RM500,000-600,000 for a decent British home, unless you live in London.

The minimum wage is now about RM30 per hour (based on a rate of exchange of 5:1). This will be going up in October. Yet the British complain that this minimum wage just can’t meet the cost of living.

In Malaysia there is no minimum wage. In spite of the campaign by the opposition and civil society movements since the 1990s, the government still refuses to set a minimum wage. Today, the minimum wage has to be at least RM1,800 per month to make it possible for Malaysians to live a decent life.

In the UK, the lower-rung income earners bring in about RM4,500-5,500 per month. A skilled worker earns about RM8,000-10,000 per month. The higher-income bracket earns about RM15,000-25,000 per month. Of course, with overtime thrown in, most hourly-waged employees can see an additional RM2,000-3,000 per month.

But what is the cost of living in the UK?

You would need to set aside about RM2,500 per month either for house rental or for your housing loan repayments, unless you are living in a council house. Your utilities and groceries would take away another RM2,500 per month, at the most. So about RM5,000 per month is gone just to survive. But if both husband and wife (or housemate/civil partner) work, then the cost sharing makes it very affordable (two can live cheaper than one).

Now compare this to Malaysia. Can we say the same for the Malaysian worker? A full cart of groceries in Malaysia will cost you about RM500-600. It costs only RM300-400 for a full cart of groceries in the UK. But the salaries in the UK are eight to ten times higher than in Malaysia.

The basic pay for a security guard in Malaysia is about RM800 per month. In the UK, the basic pay for a security guard is about RM8,000. The Malaysian security guard can’t survive on RM800 per month. The UK security guard needs only RM5,000 per month to survive.

Anyway, I have written about this many times before. And this is what Malaysians need to focus on — not on whether it is right to wear certain football jerseys.


Minimum wage to rise by 2%: but increase dwarfed by inflation

By Stephen Hunt, 22nd June 2010

The minimum wage for adults in the UK will increase to £5.93 in October, a rise of 13p, or 2%, the government has announced. The change is the result of a recommendation by the Low Pay Commission, which has been rubber-stamped by the government.

Working adults are not the only beneficiaries of the increase – 21 year olds will now receive at least the full adult minimum wage, whereas only people aged over 22 years were previously eligible.

Also unveiled were smaller percentage increases to the minimum wages for other age brackets – 18-20 year olds get 9p extra, while 16 and 17 year olds earning the minimum wage will enjoy 7p more. Furthermore, a minimum wage for apprentices has also been implemented.

The changes were well received by the TUC, it said: “The minimum wage has been a great success, and if this announcement means that this is an area that will see continuity rather than change it will win wide support.”

This is in spite of the percentage rise of 2% falling well below that stipulated by the retail price index of inflation, an indicator of pay rises, which for May was as high as 5.1%

Edward Davey, Minister for Employment Relations, claimed that the rise “will strike a balance between helping the lowest paid whilst at the same time not jeopardising their employment.”

The rise in the national minimum wage was however incongruous with the “London Living Wage”, which rose by over a percent more to £7.85. Mayor of London Boris Johnson underlined that the increase was necessary to give people ample incentive to work.


What is the Average Salary in the UK?

While there are several different factors that contribute to an employees’ salary, the average salary in the UK is considered to be £25,800 for full-time employees in the United Kingdom.  This number is available from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earning report issues in November, 2009, by Office of National Statistics in the United Kingdom.  The average salary in the UK was determined through a survey of working professionals in the UK, but primarily focused on government employees and other similar professions.  When converted to dollars, the average salary in the UK is around $41,700 based on the current average rate of conversion.

Of course, there are varying fluctuations in the rate of pay for certain employees based on their profession, their level of education, and the amount of experience they have in their given profession.  As for the profession, the highest paid jobs in Britain according to this survey was Chief Executives and Directors of businesses.  They raked in around £115,576. The service industry saw the worst average salaries in the country, pulling in £11,930 annually, although it was unclear whether or not this includes tips and gratuity if the job allows for it. Most waiters and waitresses will typically get between 10 and 12 percent from customers depending on the type of establishment they are employed at.

The average salary in the UK has risen steadily over the past several years according to the report this data was drawn from, but the number of jobs has dramatically decreased.  Those who are employed are being paid better, but there are fewer jobs for people to get.  According to the report, the average salary increase of around 2.8 percent for those working in the public sector, and only 0.8 percent in the private sector.  The private sector is estimated at losing over 2,000 jobs daily in the UK.

The Best Salaries in the UK

Sure, we know that Chief Executives and Directors make the most in the UK, but what are some of the other high average salary jobs in the UK.  Since the report by the Office of National Statistics, covered around 300 different professions, we can easily examine what the highest paying jobs are, what the lowest are, and where those in the middle fall.  Here are the best salary jobs in the UK.

    * Medical Practitioner and other Health Professionals – This job is high paying in almost every country you visit.  The health care field is one of the highest paid fields in the UK, with average salaries ranging between £60,866 and £78,366.

    * Senior Officials and Corporate Managers – Highly similar to the Chief Executives, only in a reduced function, Senior Officials and Corporate Manages make an average salary of between £85,000 and £86,000 a year.

    * Brokers – Brokers help people to buy and sell stocks, futures, bonds, and other types of investment options.  The average salary of a Broker in the UK is around £61,117, but it is not stated if this includes commissions and bonuses.

    * Government Figures – While this may seem like commonplace, the senior officials in National Government make around £68,283 in the UK.

The Worst Salaries in the UK

Like in most countries, the service industry typically pulls in the worst annual salary, and the UK is not different.  While it is already known that waiters and waitresses pull in the worst annual salary, who else is at the bottom of the Office of National Statistic’s report?  Let’s take a look at the four worst paying jobs in the UK.

    * Bar Staff – This can include bar backs, dishwashers, bartenders, and bar maids.  Their average salary is around £12,184, but it does not say whether or not this includes any gratuity they may get through the job.

    * Tour and Travel Guides – This includes people who offer guided tours of historic areas to tourists and visitors and those who help to make arrangements for those staying in the UK.  This job, while it does sound like fun to many, only has an average salary of around £23,561.

    * Hairdressers – Hairdressers and those in a related or highly similar position make an average salary of around £13,194.  This is about the average, since many in this type of career does make some type of gratuity.

    * The Cashier – Your standard retail store cashier and similar job titles make a very meager salary in the UK of around £12,736.



UK Average Salaries & Expenditures http://www.worldsalaries.org/uk.shtml