Tuesday, May 29, 2007


This family used to live in the squatters that used to dot Puchong. When their home was razed, the father left a message with a neighbour that he was leaving Lisa and the four girls for good. This family rented a low-cost unit for RM400 per month but had to downgrade to another that cost RM350 per month. This single-mother earns RM500 as a cleaner with a cleaning contractor. All 4 girls are schooling. If she reports sick and do not have an MC, her pay is docked. Is it easy to juggle the remaining RM150 for food, transport, schooling? Some months, because of some emergencies, power is cut and the girls do their school work at the bottom of the airwell, a common area where electricity is provided.

Somebody last week made a revelation that the BN will again win hands-down the next General Election because all civil servants are happy. So happy that one department even volunteered to work Saturdays and Sundays. No, I am not grudging them this windfall. The lower grade civil servants deserve this long-overdue extra, They really deserve the pay-rise. If they are happy, they will vote BN.

On the other side of the coin, has the government given thought to the fact that majority of the electorate are employed by the private sector? So, the BN better brace themselves with this stark truth. They have to listen and take heed of the oft-repeated plea to raise the minimum wage of the private sector. Already some foreign maids are being paid more than RM400-RM500 and there are millions of Malaysians in the private sector who still earn below the poverty level.

The Ministry of Human Resources and the Cabinet must heed the call of MTUC President, the soft-speaking and incorruptible Syed Shahrir Syed Mohamud who is demanding RM900 as minimum wage plus RM300 as cost of living allowance for every private sector employee.

The Cabinet best pay heed to this request rather than the mundane request that Manchester United must play in Malaysia. The government cannot, I repeat, cannot ignore the impending MTUC memorandum that will be presented to the Prime Minister. Just a one-day-strike by the private sector will white-wash the Visit Malaysia Year and leave a distasteful flavour to the 50th Anniversary celebrations. Just one day!

The MTUC must stay the course. Don't say you might strike. Tell the government: We WILL lay down tools. Tuan Syed will never be bought unlike......

The government has taken care of their people but isn't Lisa and the thousands like Lisa, also Malaysians. Give these unfortunate Malaysians, young and old a fair chance to survive. We are fifty years old and we have not ratified this anomaly. Will the BN Government care. WE WAIT, WE WATCH.


Kata Tak Nak said...

I am a government servant. I am looking for more changes not only the bottom figures in my pay-slip. Uh, uh no vote gomen. Not this civil servant. Want more change.

J.T. said...

Lisa reminds me of the cleaning lady that used to work part-time in my office in KL. Her take home pay from her full time job at an accounting company and part time at my office totalled RM850. She had a husband who bummed around and took whatever he could get from her while she tried to pay off a low-cost housing loan, feed and educate five boys. How does one survive that way when minimum wage remains disgustingly low?
Cost of living has gone up over the years but wages of some low income-earners remain. Everyone needs a chance to survive. I hope MTUC presses on with the matter. There needs to be a change.
I was once in the minimum wage bracket years ago - I was single and lived with my parents. Yet it was difficult. What more with citizens like Lisa? They should not be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you decided to blog about this, Zorro. As it is, many of us are struggling to make ends meet with rising cost of living and all, what more people like Lisa. I feel the wage disparity between the upper class and the lower class is getting wider by the day in this country -- just last week we had the latest statistics on the super rich in this country showing great increase in their personal wealth. As a society, we seems to have gotten out priorities all wrong. The concept "for the greater good" seems to be lost in out present society where certain individuals' interests are upheld. It's quite shameful, actually.


BigDogDotCom said...

The fundamental issue about minimum wage is that business owners are really greedy. This is an important component of market economy (demand-supply driven). The business owners wants to keep cost of production down, thus hire cheap labour, including foreign workers.

They don't care about politics nor social and environment issues. That's why business owners like factories pollute rivers, do not treat their harmful waste properly and allowed harmful gases to be discharged into the environment.

Its the civic conscious of these people that everyone have to address FIRST. And the people hv the democratic power to do so and can exercise their democratic instantly (not wait for elections).

Its call the "power of consumerism". Its very democratic and can be exercised freely, without any obstacle (legal or political). Malaysians so far, hv failed to exercise this right against errand and greedy producers.

Asking for minimum wage will only imbalance the equation and society will still not able to solve anything. Inflation driven economy will still hurt low income group but this time, we hv our products at higher cost of production, which will hurt the economy in the long run.

Intervention economy will not work. "The Government should......" is a phrase Malaysians need to erode from their system and grow up, to be matured society. The society actually can do many things on their own, without intervention like asking Government to do this n that everytime they hit a brickwall!

Mat Salo said...

Unker Zorro, I am a good judge of charachter after all, even when my "soberity" is in doubt.. more so when you bring these issues to the mainstream via your popular blog...

I work in Indonesia, and for those of them who haven't been to M'sia can never understand why there is still "poverty" in our Land of Plenty. Simply no excuse, they argue, since they know Malaysia to have a relatively small population with abundant natural resources. That's why their brethren came in droves and mostly succeeding in pursuing their dreams. But there's no excuse, and I think we know who to point our fingers at...

So more power to MTUC. And I'm inspired by thoughtful commentaries by both Ms. Vanitha and Ms. JT...

Soldier on, Unker.

zorro said...

So Big Dog, dont ask the govt. for help. What are they for then....just take care of their cronies. The govt, is been elected to regulate and ratify what is not right. The govt. and the private sectors now use PR companies to bluff us....and give this good feeling to all...What is your suggestion then brother? Solutions? You said Malaysians have failed to exercise their rights against errant and greedy producers. Individually they have little voice, so they use their official vehicle, the MTUC...and they are asking what is only their due. For too long intervention was there but the government takes the stand: let they shout until they are blue in the face...we dont respond....after a while they will lose stamina. Big Dog, I hve been in both public and private sector, about not asking for government intervention "everytime we hit the brickwall." Ask who then? Do what then?Growllllllllllllll.

zorro said...

Big Dog, if they cut down trees to build factories, if they pollute the environment, it is because they know that the govt. agencies can be bought. Willing taker, willing giver. It is always the private sector going to the govt. agencies to discuss waste disposal etc...and you know what the govt. agencies propose a "short-cut"....brother I was there!

The Ancient Mariner said...

I believe MTUC, like Cuepacs, cannot go on a general strike since it is only a federation of trades union, so in a way it is a toothless tiger. But individual unions can if they have gone thru the due process i.e., secret balloting, giving notice etc.

Wildcat strikes are illegal in this country and want to go picketing oso have to get police permit, meh.

It is the system, baby, and it sucks.

mandelism said...

Yes uncle Zorro, i really hope MTUC stays on their course and not just merely threaten to strike.
They should really do it as the issue of minimum wage has been there since 1974 ...still till today there is no minimum wage! sickening..

pity those who are in the lower-earning group..

and yes bigDOG, saying the government shud shudnt do all..lol. i wonder what's the function of a government if not to help their ppl? If they can enforce many other ridiculous rules like giving 10% discounts for RICH ppl to buy house, then this enforcement of minimum wage can be done as well.


BigDogDotCom said...

Do away with the phrase "The Government should............". That is the MOST overused phrase amongst the mouth of the average Malaysians. Look around us, how many people use that phrase, daily!

Everything also Malaysians want to throw at the Government. The biggest issues, the pettiest issues, the most controversial issues, the most complicated issues; every single damn issue, every single Malaysian throw and pass the responsibility aka "pass the Buck" to the Government.

The society should do this sort of things on their own. Its way over due!

Infact, I am a believer that the Government exist on what the people cannot do for themselves, like defense and international diplomatic affairs. The things the people can do with or amongst themselves, then the people should get it done.

Can't the society deal with a case like this? Maybe Malaysians are simply too obtuse and complacent and always want to pass everything to other people to do.

Anonymous said...

I think not everyone is poor. Some can afford RM26,000 for 200 biji durian

Anonymous said...

strike and Syed Shahrir will be detained indefinately........ that's hard fact. when has the Abdullah government ever concerns about people like lisa before?

kerp said...

ok this has nothing to do wit the entry. i'm just glad i can access to this comments page again after months without success. haha..

which also means I can now read comments pages at rocky's as well as MM's.

dont worry uncle bernard. i wont be hogging and bomb ur site wit poop. unlike that one weird fler.

zorro said...

Welcome back Danny.
Anon....a ballot is used everytime a strike is to take place...it is never a unilateral or arbitrary action. The Labor laws provide for that. If MTUC and their affiliates strike, it is because they concur.
Big Dog, but there are things that Malaysians cannot do unless the Govt. makes it a law. Thats why MPs are funnily called lawmakers. If the Govt. dont take (wrong word....it should be MAKE) a stand, some unscrupulous in the private sector will continue to exploit and rampage. The govt. is here to serve and not just be pragmatic. Doesnt work for the poor. Can we at least empathise with Lisa and her hapless and helpless group of Malaysians.

shanghaistephen said...

Hey bigdog,
You are walking on thin ice..very thin ice indeed !reading all the comments above I am in total disagreement with you...you for sure don't know what it is to be POOR, hungry,live in a dingy little room that is called "house" and be deprieved of the basic necessities..like light and water...and to stretch RM150.00 for 30 days feeding 5 people, wearing new or clean cloths, belly full of food and afraid to fall sick lest that RM150.00 is stretched into medical bills !And this is just one of the hundreds of thousands called citizens of this country,though a vicious twist in their social structure, and station in life are in this position.They did'nt ask for it, my friend .
Sure you say when put against a wall they demand from the government of the day to help...And why not my big friend ? why not ? cos come election time the these same government morons would hire cars and taxis to ferry these pathetic "citizens" to polling booths to woo and vote for them, even if you are wheelchair bound,right ? Why can't these pathetic "citizens" demand the same attention after election ??? Where are these hippocrite politicians then ? busy playing golf and signing contracts to family and croonies???

In the meantime bigdog, you have a nice day, Cheers !

BigDogDotCom said...


First of all, you must able to differentiate between Government, government policies, government agencies (including the scope of work, charter and jurisprudence) and government servants. If you cannot do that, then very, very difficultlah......

I think your understanding of issues and how the mechanism work is poor and yet you have certain expectations to be fulfilled, based on perceptions you have.

Most probably, you expect a simplistic solution to a complex situation, which will NEVER WORK!

Go learn a bit more first, then we talk. Otherwise, you keep calling people like me, "operatives". Susahlah like that. I can differentiate between MASUKAN and MASAKAN!

Hahhahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha :)

zach said...

what!!!! Vote BN? No way even if I die and be alive again. Oh!... I am a government servant who is expecting more RMsssss come end of July.www.xperienceoflife.blogspot.com

Ben said...

I have a dream that all Malaysians marginalized and unable to fend for themselves have strong and caring shoulders to lean on. I dream we will not run away when we see our brothers and sisters cry for help but consider it an honour to balance this social injustice.

I dream that no Malaysian should walk this life alone but have friends to care for them. Let's stop talking and share whatever little we have so that none shall go hungry. Let's work at it because its meaningful and start a food drive. It worked for the JB flood relief. Let's all spread the good works in our community. Its a start, then God willing, watch it grow.

Interested? Write to me and I'll give you a simple plan you can easily do with your neighbours. You will have fun knowing you are doing something meaningful this weekend.

Want to help the hungry? Donate food!