Malaysia’s Prime Minister Says His Country’s Professionals Are Underpaid

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Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak admitted that Malaysian professionals are underpaid compared with their counterparts in other countries, according to the Malaysian national news agency Bernama.

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Najib Razak

Malaysia's Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

Najib said low pay had somewhat deterred efforts to retain as well as attract good talent to work in Malaysia.

“So, it is my desire to see our wage rate move up steadily but with an eye on improving productivity as well,” he said at the 11th Forbes Global CEO Conference in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 14, 2011, Bernama reported.

“Although Malaysian professionals are competent, they are not being paid as well as those in other countries,” Najib said.

“I have been telling the private and public sectors to pay people salaries that commensurate with their skills and talents in accordance with international standards.”

According to Bernama, Najib said focused efforts were needed to retain good Malaysian professionals as well as attract Malaysians living overseas back with the promise of better pay.

However, Najib is concerned about rising prices for other workers. He mentioned Arab countries that are in turmoil due to unemployment and rising cost of living.

“We are very cautious of the fact that rising cost of living is the responsibility of the government to deal with,” Bernama reported Najib as saying.

“Otherwise, in a political democracy, there will be a backlash against the government. So, we are committed to reducing subsidies gradually but we will have to ensure that there will be no additional burden for the people.”

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