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Deputy minister urged to defend interns, not employers

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Ahirul Ahirudin
Written by Ahirul Ahirudin

KUALA LUMPUR – March 21, 2019: Deputy Education Minister Teo Nie Ching has came under fire after  she defended employers over the mandatory internship allowance issue.

In a statement three days ago, Teo said the implementation of minimum allowance rate for interns should be made only after extensive research to ensure such a policy will not adversely affect employers.

“This move could burden the employers, especially the small and medium enterprises, directly affecting their capabilities to hire interns,” said Teo.

Consequently, she was criticised by many Malaysians in the cyberspace. 

Khairul Nizam pointed out in his tweet that when it comes to the people’s welfare, the government has been slow in doing its research.

“Yes, we interns walk to work, ride bicycle and fast every day,” added Khairul sarcastically in response to  the deputy minister’s statement. His posting had since garnered over 7,400 retweets.

Twitter user Mohamad Hazim, also expressed his disappointment with Teo, saying that she should be protecting the students instead of the employers.

“Those who have struggled with only RM500 of internship allowance know how hard it is just to find food and that is if you are lucky enough to earn that much,” said Hazim. His tweet has since garnered more than 3,000 retweets.

According to a poll he created in twitter, out of 4,003 respondents, only 37 per cent earned between RM400 and RM800 of internship allowances per month while the rest were earning below RM400, half of whom having to make do with less than RM200 and in several cases, nothing at all.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC ) today expressed disagreement  with the idea of unpaid internship and demanded for interns to be paid at least RM440 per month which is 40 per cent of the country’s minimum wage.

MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor told The Mole that interns are also contributors to the companies where they were placed.

“They not only perform daily tasks, but also bring about new ideas from the years spent studying in the universities.

“Instead of viewing them as just another overhead count, corporations should instead view them as investment for ideas and the future. For that, RM440 is a bargain,” said Halim. 

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Ahirul Ahirudin

Ahirul Ahirudin