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Saturday, September 13, 2008

'Malaysia has 1st class infrastructure, 3rd class salaries'

After 50 years of development, we can say that we have one of the world's best infrastructure in terms of roads, airports, ports and even the Multimedia Super Corridor.

We only realise this when we travel overseas or to neighbouring countries or when we get visitors from the United States or Europe.

As visitors leave the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, travel on the highway, visit KLCC or the surrounding shopping complexes, they can immediately access the Internet. They all say we are better than the developed countries.

The government has done a lot in that we have a roof for every head, a desk for every school-going child, a bed for the sick and even jobs for 2.5 million foreign workers.

Lately, the government has been taking strides to improve the salaries of the government servants while businessmen have had to increase the cost of food items at groceries or restaurants.

Whilst we have first-class infrastructure, we still have Third World salaries.

While the economy has grown in the last 50 years - at six to eight per cent annually, salaries have not matched these types of growth. As such, most of the private sector companies still pay Third World salaries.

We cannot afford to measure ourselves against the McDonald's index in terms of how many people can afford to buy McDs. We can't even say we can use the Astro index in terms of how many people can afford an Astro at home, which I believe is less than 10 per cent.

It becomes worse when we say how many per cent of our population can afford to buy computers for their homes.

We can ask for first-class infrastructure but can the population afford to use it?

The key question is: Can the population afford handphones, highway tolls, computers and high taxes on cars?

As such, to keep astride with our economic growth and our super infrastructures, private sector salaries need to be increased.

It is sad that after 50 years, we still don't have a minimum salary structure and we bring in foreign workers whom we are happy to pay below RM600.

On top of this, we have 950,000 Malaysians working overseas, including 150,000 professionals, because the salary scales abroad are better.

Maybe we have to compare not only taxation in other countries, and ask the government to reduce income tax and corporate tax.

The government has done well to increase the salaries of civil servants by 35 per cent.

The private sector complains bitterly that petrol prices have gone up by 100 per cent, steel prices up by 100 per cent and food prices by 50 per cent. However, they try to contain salary increases between six and 10 per cent.

We need to have a minimum wage urgently because even at RM600, who can afford to live in Malaysia?

Just look at cost of rentals for homes and the cost of a loaf of bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This is even before we add the cost of transportation, amenities at home and the cost of educating our children.

In the last 50 years, salaries in Singapore have gone up by 7.5 times that of Malaysia.

Fifty years ago, our salaries and currencies were the same. Today, salaries are three times higher and the currency is 2.5 times higher across the Causeway.

Comparatively, the Hong Kong people are earning more than the Singaporeans and the Japanese are earning more than the Hong Kong people.

The government is responsible for first class infrastructure and as well as the hefty 35 per cent increase in government salaries.

Who is responsible for third-class salaries in Malaysia? Who is driving away the more than a million Malaysians who work overseas? Don't we need that human capital at home?

By Bernama


Alfredrichh Kok said...

To up-grade the Private sector's wages, first we need to reduce the over-dependence on cheap semi-skilled
foreign workmen.

Secondly we need to re-train our own Workman to be multi-skilled, having the right and professional job attitude, job-dedicated and highly productive.

The Business House can only reward and compensate its Workmen fairly if its bottom lines are not in the red.

Remember the Bull Run of 1993-1994 where KLSE and its Share Brokers dished out 12 - 24 months annual Bonuses, and many Berhads and Sendirian Berhads also more than willingly gave their Staff and Workmen very fat bonuses and increment too

However in 1997 to 2000 the opposite was true and many Companies went bust.

The modus operani is such that once the Company made a Windfall, it will rather share it with its highly productive staff and workmen, thus further motivating them to attain higher climaxes; rather than fattening the Inland Revenue Department.

Thirdly, to demand higher salary, perks and increment the Company and its Board Of Directors, Top Management, Departmental and Production Drivers must sure-make that the Company maintained its Market Position and Leadership with at least an annual growth of no less than three times. Impossible, please read on.

Profit sharing strategy is like what the British East India Company used and if you read your history books properly you will know how much its Stake-Holders gained.

Their descendants are still reaping huge profits and all because of them the whole World are still writing and reading the English Language; even though England is just a State of Great Britain and consisted of less than 3% of the World Population.

To conclude I should say that a great Admiral can bring many victories to the fleet and benefits the country and people, while a dozen drunkard sailors, if not made to walk the plank, can eventually sank a ship or two.

Kimberg said...

Hi, Thanks for great comment!