General : No Plans To Make COLA Compulsory In Private Sector

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 (Bernama) — The Human Resources Ministry has no plans to make it compulsory for Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) to be paid to private sector workers.

Its Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib told the Dewan Negara this was because, currently, the ministry was enforcing the National Salary Consultative Council Act (Act 732) 2011 which makes it mandatory for a minimum salary of RM900 to be paid to employees in Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

“Currently, private sector workers enjoy allowances such as for attendance, travel, house rental, shifts, clothing and laundry,” he told Senator Datuk Jamilah Sulaiman during the question-and-answer session today.

Jamilah had wanted to know if the ministry would impose COLA for their workers in the private sector as enjoyed by civil servants.

Ismail said the government had no authority under the law to make it mandatory for private sector employers to pay COLA or a similar allowance to their workers.

Ismail said this was because COLA to the workers was subject to the discretion of the employers, and could be negotiated by the workers and their employers.

He said the ministry always encouraged constructive discussions between workers and employers to get the best salary terms, jointly agreed to by both sides via collective bargaining between unions and employers as provided for under Section 13, of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 (Act 177).

“For workers who are not represented by unions, the matter can be discussed in the Joint Consultative Committee between the employers and workers,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Chua Tee Yong said 226,000 individuals out of 5.58 million registered with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) failed to declare their income for assessment year 2013.

He said 136,000 companies out of 562,000 registered with IRB also failed to do so, he said.

“IRB always acts continuously against income tax shirkers to ensure compliance and revenue is collected by the government within the stipulated period,” he said when replying to a question from Senator Datuk Mohd Salim Sharif.


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