The Sun Daily (Online) : 22/03/2018

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wants Technical Education and Vocational Training (TVET) graduates to be paid a minimum wage of RM3,500, up from RM1,200 currently, which is about a 300% increase.

Ahmad Zahid said this was necessary to attract more local high-skilled workers into the industry and to put their wages on par with foreign skilled workers and expatriates, who are earning at least RM3,500.

"If we look at foreign skilled workers and expatriates, whose wages are approved by the Human Resources Ministry and Immigration Department, they are paid a minimum of RM3,500. Of course, we have to increase ours to at least match theirs.

"Our (TVET) minimum wage now is only RM1,200. Why must we take foreign workers and pay them RM3,500? It's very unfair," he told a press conference after officiating the Malaysia TVET Expo 2018, here today.

Among those present were Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot, Higher Education Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh and Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

Ahmad Zahid did not disclose when he expected the wage review to be implemented, but said he also aims to increase the TVET minimum salary to at least RM5,000 by the year 2030.

He said to achieve this (minimum wage increment), the government would be engaging with the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) to get its approval and to recognise the TVET courses.

He also revealed that the majority of foreign skilled workers plying their trade here were from China and Indonesia, with most of them belonging to the construction industry.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said the government aims to achieve a 43% skilled workers ratio (of the overall workforce here) by 2030, with the figure currently standing at 28%.

"Hence, I am proposing that a TVET Council be set up to coordinate the TVET programme, and so that it will be recognised by a specific body," he said, adding that he would offer himself to chair the council.

Ahmad Zahid said to elevate the status of TVET, he also wants a career advancement plan to be established for the graduates, in order to push them to further their studies.

"They too must be given the opportunity to enroll into universities to obtain their diploma and degree certificates. If we can do that, TVET will no longer be second choice among Malaysians," he added.

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