How long more do we exploit human lives for profit?

Posted on September 13, 2018

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many-colours-one-dreampemerintah-harus-lakukan-ini-agar-kemiskinan-berkurang-juzNew minimum wage for the lowest wage earners in the country : RM1050.00.

Effective 1st January, 2019.

An increase of RM50 in Malaya, RM130 in Sabah and Sarawak.

For those in Malaya, it works out to an increase of RM1.67 a day, in a 30-day month.

For 8 daily essentials.

On 5th September, 2018, Malaysiakini reported the prime minister as saying that “The increment of the minimum wage is in line with the current economic situation of the country. We should be mindful that a drastic increase in salary will be problematic for industries, and affect the competitiveness of the nation”.

A drastic increase in salary will be problematic for industries?

Where have I heard this before?

The Star, on 1st June, 2018, reported Sime Darby Plantation Bhd. executive deputy chairman and managing director Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh urging the government not to make the minimum wage of RM1,500 mandatory for the plantation sector.

His reasons?

It would hike production costs and affect domestic plantation players negatively.

it would have a major impact on the financial performance of all plantation companies.

In other words, it would affect profit.

How?

Bakke says that “Currently, labour costs constitute about 26% of the total cost of production. Should this RM1,500 minimum wage be effective, the labour costs would move up to 35% of total cost of production. On per tonne basis, the higher minimum wage would translate into an additional cost of about RM185 per tonne of crude palm oil”.

So, paying their workers, whose labour generates the revenue of the company, RM1,500 each would occasion a 9% increase in the cost of production.

“Problematic”, as the prime minister put it.

“Major impact on financial performance”, as per Bakke.

Higher cost, lesser profit.

Would Bakke’s remuneration be captured as part of the labour cost of 26%?

Silly me!

He is not labour!

So would his remuneration be captured somewhere in working out cost of production?

I looked up what he earned in Sime Darby.

For the year 2017, a sum of RM7,861,000.00 only.

That;s enough to pay almost 16,000 of the lowest paid Sime Darby workers an additional RM500 a month!

Let’s not forget, though.

Bakke is not labour.

And the concern, of government and industry, is that cost of labour should not become “problematic” or “impact on financial performance” of the corporate engines that drive the economy.

Come 16th September, 2018, the lowest working class should come out waving little flags to enthusiastically show their gratitude, knowing full well that, come 1st January, 2019, they will have an extra RM1.67 a day to improve their lives.