Monday, May 12, 2008

Low Salaries - We Are Being Cheated !

High cost of living, but private sector employees' salaries remain the same. How much must a person earn per month, to survive in KL ?

Recently the The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has asked the government to set a minimum wage of RM1,200 per month (RM900 actual minimum wage and provision of an RM300 Cost of Living Allowance). This means that the MTUC has culculated that a person must earn at least RM1,200 per month to reasonably live in a large city like KL and at least RM900 per month if he lives in a small town or village.

The Asia Times has reported that the total monthly income earned by the lowest-ranking civil servants in Malaysia is now above RM1,000. This means that a cleaner working for the government is now earning above RM1,000 per month. What about private sector employees ?

A fresh graduate working in the private sector in Kuala Lumpur today is only paid RM1,600 on average. That's barely above the RM1,200 per month the MTUC is proposing to be paid to labourers.

In some private companies, salary increments for its graduate employees are only approximately RM100 per year. So if a fresh graduate starts with Rm1,600 per month, he will take 10 years to earn RM2,600 per month; by then the cost of living would increase by hundreds of times.

Even foreign stay-in maids in Malaysia earn from RM700 to RM900 per month (food and lodging is provided by the employer). This means that they can save the RM700 - RM900 they earn per month.

How much can a fresh graduate save per month ? He has to pay for accommodation (assuming he doesn't live with his parents), food, transportation, telecommunication etc etc.

This post is not about fresh graduates' salaries or the minimum wage proposed by the MTUC. Fresh graduates' salaries and the minimum wage proposed by the MTUC are only used as benchmarks so we can make comparisons between the salaries of different levels and categories of employees in relation to the high cost of living.

Hey, are we missing something here ? a large glass of teh tarik has, in some mamak shops, gone up to RM1.40. It used to be RM1.20 last year, and RM1.00 in 2006. Why are private sector salaries so low that it can barely keep up with inflation ?

In light of the current high cost of living, how much do you think a fresh graduate working in the private sector living in Kuala Lumpur should be paid per month ?

(a) They should be happy to be paid RM1,600 per month

(b) They should be paid at least RM2,000 per month

(c) They should be paid at least RM2,500 per month

(d) They should be paid at least Rm3,000 per month

(e) They should be paid more than RM3,000 per month

Please post your comments.


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