'Any employer who does not make salary payments is considered to have committed an offence and may be fined not more than RM50,000'
Malaysian Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar is reminding employers of their pay obligations to employees following recent wage complaints, according to reports.
At a press conference, Sivakumar reiterated employers' duties on wages on the Employment Act 1955 (Act 265), Bernama reported.
"The instructions for the payment of wages through bank accounts have long been stipulated in Act 265," he said.
According to the minister, payment of wages in cash or cheque shall only be done at the request of the employee and with permission from the Director General of the Department of Labour of Peninsular Malaysia.
"Any employer who does not make salary payments through the bank account as stipulated is considered to have committed an offence and if convicted may be fined not more than RM50,000," Sivakumar said.
Fighting forced labour
The minister made the remarks as the government recently made its commitment to combat forced labour. Sivakumar said the unpaid or withheld wages is one of the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) 11 indicators of forced labour.
He noted that employers' compliance with wage payments through bank accounts is one of the government's means to monitor the capacity of employers across the country.
Among other means pledged by the government include increasing inspections of workplaces, providing more support to victims of forced labour, as well as raising awareness on the issue among employers and employees, Bernama reported.
The government is also ratifying the Protocol of 2014 to the Forced Labour Convention, which tasks each member to "develop a national policy and plan of action for the effective and sustained suppression of forced or compulsory labour in consultation with employers' and workers' organizations."
The government added that it will adopt the National Action Plan on Forced Labour (2021-2025), which sets out various commitments of the government to eliminate forced labour in the country.
The Human Resources Ministry said the government will closely work with the ILO and other partners to boost its efforts in fighting forced labour in Malaysia.
"We are confident that we can make progress on this issue, and we are committed to ensuring that all workers in Malaysia are treated fairly and with respect," the ministry said in a statement quoted by Bernama.