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Hike in Wages in Singapore Attracts More Malaysian Professionals

August 5, 2016

The recent move by the Singapore government announcing hike in wages for professionals by RM900 from January 2017 is attracting many Malaysian professionals to seek an opportunity in the country.

Many local officials when contacted by The Star said this move is because of the higher pay and drop in the value of the ringgit.

The lower value of the ringgit in comparison to the Singapore dollar was one of the major reason, why many Malaysian professionals are seriously looking at career opportunities in Singapore to migrate and boost their income levels.

However, Singapore doesn’t encourage professionals who do not possess a degree or diploma from a recognised university to qualify for the EP. This could make immigration for Malaysian workforce difficult as some might not be able to qualify themselves for Employment Pass considerations.

Most of the professionals holding employment passes are senior bank executives, accountants, doctors, engineers and lawyers. Teh Kee Sin, Johor South Small and Medium Enterprises advisor urged Malaysian professionals to rethink on their decisions by saying, while earning Singapore dollars could give them more spending power after converting the pay to ringgit. It is required for professionals to reconsider their decisions before taking up jobs across the causeway – which could involve expenses incurred between Johor Baru and Singapore.

The daily commute could start early morning and would end late at night, owing to congestion at the crossings. Furthermore, renting an apartment in Singapore is not cheap either. “A room in a HDB flat costs about S$800(RM2, 400) a month, even higher if there was an MRT station nearby,” Teh Kee Sin added.

As recently, the arrest of 35 Malaysians by Johor immigration for bypassing the customs checkpoint at the Johor-Singapore border by crossing the railway tracks, to beat the causeway jams brought to light the exodus of Malaysians travelling to Singapore to earn a living. Are better career opportunities and higher pay the only reasons for Malaysians to bear the torturous long-hour commute everyday to work?

Also it is advisable for Malaysians to consider working in Malaysia, and avoid the recent causeway toll hikes. No time for family and personal life, seems to have very little impact on Malaysians, who seek for higher pay and are willing to cross the causeway to simply increase their financial worth.

See: Unemployment rises among Singapore citizens, residents in Q2

According to a report by Malaysian Digest, “The Human Resource Ministry declares, there are about 350,000 Malaysians working in Singapore, and that another 386,000 Malaysians have permanent residency status there.” Discontent with Malaysia’s inclusiveness was another reason too why professionals choose to migrate to a neighbouring country.

For instance, the starting salary for a fresh graduate with a bachelor in Information and Technology Management is $2,900 (RM8,000) in Singapore. Whereas the starting salary is barely RM2,600 in Malaysia and this is further aggravated by other factors such as relatively high taxation, higher crime rates and social discrimination to name a few.

A survey conducted by Oriental News Daily last year found that most Malaysians working in Singapore had no intention to become citizens of the Republic and all they want was to earn ‘Sing’ dollars. It’s no surprise then that in terms of happiness, Singapore, with a score of 39.8, is ranked six places below Malaysia’s 40.5.

If you are one of those considering the lure of earning in Singapore dollar, remember do not rush into the decision of accepting employment.

Besides, you have the right to check on salary package, working days and hours, leave and public holidays, termination of employment as well as other terms and condition of service such as accommodation, termination benefits and requirement of work pass, among others. While the grass might seem greener on the other side, you should consider drawbacks carefully before relocating.

Also read: Impact of Technology Transformation on Singapore’s Jobs and Businesses: ILO Findings

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