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LegCo 2019: Minimum labour wage still in discussion

BY Hakim Hayat

MINISTER of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Kerna Dato Seri Setia (Dr) Haji Awang Abu Bakar bin Haji Apong said the Labour Department is still conducting a careful evaluation on the introduction of a minimum labour wage in the country.

Responding to a query on its status by Legislative Council (LegCo) member Yang Berhormat Iswandy bin Ahmad at the ongoing 15th LegCo session on Wednesday, the Minister of Home Affairs said the move to introduce a law came up during the country’s negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) pact with several other countries, that requires all signatory countries to streamline its labour regulations for a free-trade deal.

The Labour Department, he added, is continuously assessing the matter and getting the views from several consultants from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and also from ASEAN on the impact it will have not just for local labour, but also for foreign investors in Brunei.

“Foreign investors in the country will evaluate the cost of doing business in Brunei that might increase (as a result of the Act).. so in this respect we are also looking at practices of other countries and the best possible way to implement this,” he added.

Earlier, Yang Berhormat Iswandy urged careful attention be given to the minimum wage policy as employers may pay their employees only the minimum wage then.

“It must also be implemented in such way that salary increments are possible with trainings and skill enhancement like the ‘progressive wage’ model adopted in our neighbouring country,” he said.

He said the progressive wage model encourages employers to have the initiative to let their employees attend trainings and courses to acquire more skills to get salary increments.

The Minister of Home Affairs welcomed the suggestion and said evaluations will be made to ensure that the Act benefits all once it is implemented.

-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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