I have been wondering why Malaysia doesn’t have a minimum wage law. In New Zealand, every single employer are obligated by law to pay at least NZ$12.50 per hour to their employees, regardless of their profession or position in the company. That means everybody, including people who sweeps the floor and clean houses (a lot of students do this), gets paid at least NZ$12.50 per hour.

Which is why I was rather appalled when my mom told me that the 7 Eleven outlet near my house is paying its shopkeeper around RM650 a month, for working 8 hours a day, 6 days a week. In New Zealand, the employer would be obligated by law to pay the shopkeeper at least NZ$2600 a month. That’s a lot of difference.

Currently, NZ$1.00 equals to around RM2.40. However, it is important to note that even though its currency is higher compared to us, the numerical value of the products sold there is only slightly higher than the prices over here. This means that if it costs us around RM2.50 for a packet of 10 regular-sized eggs, over there it’s only a little bit higher than that numerically, around NZ$3.00. This means that dollar-by-dollar, it follows that at least we should be paid a minimum wage of RM12.50 per hour or more. But we’re not.

Of course, introducing it now would draw a lot of fire from the businesses. But should we favour the businesses more than the people who make these businesses run?

I am no economist, and I’m not even trained in economics. I am also not a lawyer, nor am I trained in that field either. I’m an engineer in training, so perhaps other people who are more well-versed in this matter could enlighten me.