SMEs against Pakatan’s budget promise

Teh: Says PR’s minimum wage promise will create new problem for Malaysia

(The Malay Mail) – A group of businessmen from small and medium enterprises have objected to the Pakatan Rakyat minimum wage promise, made in its 2013 shadow budget unveiled last week.

SMI Association of Malaysia president Teh Kee Sin said the opposition coalition’s promise to increase the minimum wage to RM1,100 a month compared to the government’s RM900 a month would adversely affect small and medium business along with the country’s economy.

“This will create a new problem for the country, which is unemployment,” he said at a press conference at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

Teh said that even though small and medium enterprises were not due to implement the new minimum wage scale until next year, many employees were already requesting for it.

“We are in constant engagement with the government and we have requested an extension before we are asked to implement even the current minimum wage,” he said.

Two Barisan Nasional MPs — Hulu Selangor’s P. Kamalanathan and Rembau’s Khairy Jamaluddin — accompanied Teh and his delegation at the Parliament, and both reiterated the government’s minimum wage was decided after much consultation.

“We, too, can make promises. We can promise to give a RM1,100 minimum wage. The reason we didn’t do so is that we conducted a study before making a decision,” said Kamalanathan.

Khairy said the businessmen’s concerns were why BN MPs had been constantly calling Pakatan’s promises “unrealistic”.

“This is what you call brainless populism. At BN, we take care of employers and employees. If we have a minimum wage that is too high, these small businesses won’t be able to stay in business,” he said.