Discuss wage terms before hiring foreigners, bosses urged

PHOTO: Discuss wage terms before hiring foreigners, bosses urged

KUALA LUMPUR - Employers should discuss with foreign workers on what should be included in the RM900 minimum wage before deciding to recruit them, said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek.

This was because the RM900 (S$400) minimum wage, in addition to housing and transport allowances for existing foreign workers here, had posed a huge financial burden to employers, he said.

"The worst hit are those employing a huge number of foreigners," he said after opening the Federal Territory MCA 64th anniversary celebrations here yesterday.

Citing a textile factory with 1,200 foreign workers as an example, Dr Chua said the employer had to fork out an additional RM300 a month for each staff under the minimum wage policy effective from Jan 1, totalling some RM4.32mil a year.

Many employers, he said, did not know the implications until the policy was implemented, adding that they were trapped due to existing contracts with the foreign workers.

Dr Chua said foreign workers, who receive housing and transportation allowances from their employers on top of the RM900 minimum wage, were found to be earning more than their local counterparts.

"MCA has no problems with minimum wage for local workers. In fact, we think it is unfair when the policy results in local workers earning less than their foreign counterparts," he said.

Earlier in a statement, MCA, he stressed, supported the implementation of the minimum wage, slamming MTUC for alleging that it only spoke up for the wealthy.

"To MCA, the well-being of Malaysians come first. We have to balance the interest of our workers and employers to ensure sustainable growth for our nation," he said.

Dr Chua said transport and housing costs, which could add up to RM300, should be included in the minimum wage for foreign workers under their new contract.