KUCHING: The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has criticised the Malaysian Employers’ Federation (MEF) and Small Medium Enterprises (SME) Association for demanding that the employers’ share of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) be reduced to 5 per cent from the current 12 or 13 percent in order to save their businesses.
MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo said the demands from MEF and Samenta were ‘repulsive and insulting’, especially on Labour Day.
He also questioned whether such demands for EPF reduction would actually prevent business closures and the retrenchment of workers.
“Can MEF and SME Association guarantee that the EPF reduction will prevent business closures and retrenchment of workers?
“We find this as irrational, irresponsible and totally unjustifiable. It also highlights the fact that Malaysian employers’ business acumen is to reduce staff benefits and demand assistance from the government,” he said in a statement today.
Lo noted that MEF and SME Association had openly admitted that most of 650,000 businesses did not register with the income tax and that 85 percent of employers employ illegal foreign workers.
He said their attempts to use absolute numbers was regrettable and misleading.
Lo, who is also Sarawak Bank Employees Union chief executive officer, believed that typically, staff costs such as salary, medical, training, travel reimbursements constituted 50 to 75 percent of total operation cost.
Lo said that the government was already giving substantial assistance to businesses including wage subsidy, bank loan moratorium and even a SME bank for the SMEs, yet it seemed that it was not enough for Malaysian employers.
“Please don’t force workers to go on strike and protests. Perhaps it’s an opportune time to cull all those unproductive and irresponsible businesses,” he said.