Why minimum wage is not a good idea

Kamal Amzan, TMI

Instead of setting up minimum wages, why can’t we implement maximum wages?

Set a figure, and those who earn more than that should be subjected to public scrutiny, especially if they hold public office.

If they earn them fairly fine, but those who abuse their position to attain wealth (insider trading included) should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

And perhaps we can learn a thing or two from these successful Malaysians.

What say you?

I am against setting up minimum wage. And before you call me heartless, let me just say that setting up a minimum wage should not be based on feelings and emotions. This is not a matter that the heart should decide upon, otherwise RM900 may not be enough and the sky may just be the limit to our empathy for the poor.

If we really want to help the poor, let us just think for a moment and take a step back. Will minimum wage actually help them?

I remembered the time when we raised petrol and sugar prices by a few sen, raising inflation and consumer prices at the same time. I cannot imagine what will happen this time when businesses have to absorb a few hundred or thousand ringgit of operating cost overnight.

Who will suffer? The poor.

When that happens, RM900 for the poor will be a joke because we are back to square one, with the poor having more money in their pockets but unable to buy much due to the rise in cost of living.

So do we have to increase the minimum wage again then? When will the cycle end?

Even if the government imposes a price control, what will the businesses do? Either they close shop or trim the number of workers to reduce cost and increase efficiency.

Some actually say if businesses cannot absorb the cost they should just close shop. How childish can one be?

What happens to the workers then? Are we saying RM0 is better than RM650/month? Remember, we are doing this to help the less fortunate among us.

Big picture please, people.

I don’t believe there is a shortcut to elevating oneself in life.  And for a country that spends so much on education, 60 per cent of graduates cannot find work after six months and another 40 per cent much longer according to The Star. If we really want to help the poor, I think we should start with educating them and arming them with skills they can use to find a better career in life.

Not send them for a National Service camp or Bina Negara when their time would be better spent learning skills elsewhere.

Look into our system, bring English into all subjects again (except BM, history and religious classes) and emphasise on vocational schools for those interested.

Apart from that, make the public transport more accessible to them as well. Everyone becomes poorer when a car becomes a necessity instead of a luxury.

The government should look at the Singapore HDB flats where they build an MRT station in the area, allowing those without cars to commute to work. When the public transport is made accessible and reliable, the government can give the poor discounts on LRTs, commuters and buses.

Don’t you think the poor will benefit more from this?

I have mentioned before that the minimum wage should be done gradually, in tandem with productivity and efficiency. Moving wages without the other two following suit spells disaster for our already ill economy.

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/opinion/article/why-minimum-wage-is-not-a-good-idea/