By Shahfizal Musa
Pix Mohammad Zukri Ahmad
IPOH 5, June 2012 – A study by The National University of Malaysia (UKM) found that the private sector short-changed their female staff by paying them less than that given to their male workers for the same work load and responsibilities.
Dr Mohd Aizat Othman from The Faculty of Economics and Management (FEP) of UKM presented his findings in a paper ‘Discrimination in labor industry: Private Sector Case Study’ presented at the on-going Malaysian National Economic Conference (PERKEM) here today.
The three day conference organised by FEP which ended today at the Kinta Riverfront Hotel here gathered policy makers, industry leaders, academicians and economists from around the country discussing various current economic issues.
A total of 160 papers, the biggest number since its inception seven years ago, were were presented.
Dr Mohd Aizat said such discriminations in pay will not help retain female talents who though committed in their work but were nonetheless discriminated against merely because of their gender.
The rational commonly used was that women take more time off from work especially after they were married and have children. These include taking maternity leave and taking time off from work whenever their children fall sick or when they have problems getting a baby sitter.
Such assumptions do not really hold because a lot of women put off their marriages just so that they can focus on their work even when they were not paid the wages that they deserve.
The study found that 27.9 percent of the wage differential can be explained but not necessarily justified while there were were no explanations at all on the remaining 72.1 percent.
Discrimination against women workers were thus quite common in the private sector and Malaysia needed to tackle the issue if it was serious in wanting to attain the status of a high income developed nation by 2020, said Dr Mohd Aizat.
The issue of human resources was given much attention at the conference because it could be the major stumbling block to the country’s Economic Transformation Plan.
UKM Board Member, Dato Dr Azmi Abdullah opening the conference said Malaysia needed to find new economic model as the current global models in place are not suitable for the country.
He hoped policy makers will gain new insights from the various findings presented at the conference to help policy makers fine tune Malaysia’s economic development to shield it from the negative impact of current global uncertainties.
UKM Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs), Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azlan bin Ghazali; FEP Dean, Prof Dr Nor Ghani Mohd Nor were among
those attending the conference chaired by Associate Professor Dr Norlida Hanim Mohd Salleh.