The Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (SAMENTA) has stated its support for the recent increase in minimum wage across Malaysia to RM1,050 per month (or RM5.05 per hour).

The announcement made by the new government yesterday has alleviated the atmosphere of uncertainty among SMEs since the 14th general election, in which the new administration had promised, among others, to revise the minimum wage.

However, SAMENTA reiterated its stand that the minimum wage should be dictated by market forces. The organisation also notes that many SMEs are paying much more than the minimum wage due to demand for workers far outstripping supply. In many industries, employers are resorting to offering benefits such as free lodging and meals, on top of wages to attract and retain workers.

In a statement, Dato’ William Ng, Chairman, Policy and Government Relations, SAMENTA, stated, “We understand that certain unions including those who are represented in the National Wage Consultative Council are against what they are saying is a small quantum of increment. However, the onus is now on those who object to provide evidence that employers are using the minimum wage as an excuse to keep wages low. The reality is that for most SMEs, labour shortage is major challenge, and will happily pay higher wages to attract skilled workers.”