In a wage and expenses comparison between Australia’s and Malaysia’s minimum wage
earners, socioeconomic interest group co-founder Azlan Awang said Australians earn more
for every hour worked and spend less for the same goods purchased.
Speaking at MTUC’s +50 USD campaign launch, he said Australia’s minimum wage stood at
AUS$17 (RM51 – RM52) per hour, while Malaysia’s minimum wage was RM5 per hour
adding that wages were about 10 times higher in Australia.
Reflecting on Bank Negara’s 2014 report Azlan said the Central Bank disclosed that 5.2
million or 78% of households were living below the decent living standards.
He said the report recommended that the monthly decent living wage for singles living in
Kuala Lumpur should be RM2,700; for couples with no children should be RM4,500 while for
couples with two children the decent living wage should be RM6,500 per month.
In further illustrating the crippling living wages in Malaysia, Azlan compared the purchasing
capacity between minimum wage earners in Australia and Malaysia to buy a tray of eggs.
While a Malaysian has to work an hour and earn his/her first hour minimum wage of RM5 to
buy one tray of eggs, an Australian minimum wage earner can buy a tray of eggs within just
12 minutes into his/her first hour of work.
Malaysia may be a poorer country compared to Australia but according to the price
comparisons based on Numbeo listings, the cost of living in Malaysia is 7 times higher than
Malaysia’s Statistics Department chief statistician Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin announced that
median monthly household income of Malaysians last year improved by 6.6% to RM5,228
from RM4,585 in 2014.
He said median household income better represented the value of household income of
"middle Malaysia" – M40.
As such, the average Malaysian experienced a pay hike in the region of 6.6% over two years.
However, since the minimum wage was introduced for the B40 income group five years ago,
there has been a hike of only 11.1%.
The +50 USD per week wage increase will improve the standard of living of the lower
income group in the country – B40 in Malaysia.