After many years of advocating, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob has finally announced that starting from the 1st of May, the government will implement a RM1,500 minimum wage for private sector employers with five or more employees.
While this is a win for many, it is no doubt that there are still some of us who are underpaid and still too afraid or do not dare to ask our employers for a pay raise. With the cost of living rising and the toll the pandemic has taken on our economy, there's no way we can continue to survive with a low salary. But, why do Malaysians think it is better to suffer in silence rather than to ask their boss for a raise?
We decided to ask our audience to share their honest opinions as to why they find it hard to ask for a raise, here's what they had to say:
# Vin, Customer Service Representative
"Most bosses are grumpy, so I am scared to ask for a raise even if I deserve it because I am worried that I will get scolded or embarrassed by my boss in front of the other employees."
# Nora, Social Media Executive
"It is not common for Malaysians to ask for a raise so if I decide to do so if I do it, my boss might have a bad opinion about me."
# Kuan, Influencer Marketing Executive
"Most of the time when I ask for a raise my boss will say that my work did not meet the KPIs, so it will make me feel like I am asking for something I don't deserve or like I am not working hard enough to get a raise."
# S, Electrical Engineer
"I don't dare to ask for a raise because I feel like I don't have enough experience to do so. Maybe if I gain enough experience and know my value then I will be brave enough to ask."
# B, Brand Associate
"Because it's Malaysia!"
# Dan, Production Technician
"Normally after the probation period, bigger companies will provide employees with a RM200 - RM300 raise and smaller companies, RM 100 - RM200 raise, so since our salary is already revised, people are afraid to ask for another raise."
# SJ, Account Executive
"Because I don't have any experience and I am just a fresh graduate."
# Lav, Account Clerk
"If I ask then suddenly my boss will start paying extra attention to my work and finding every minor error to use as an excuse not to give me a raise."
# Jo, Sales Executive
"Sometimes it is because the company told you in the past about how they cannot afford to do so. You want to leave but you need job security so you just continue to work at a low salary worried that if you ask for another raise, they will let you go because they can't afford to pay you."
# Angel, Logistic Assistant
"My boss thinks that the salary offered is the maximum pay for my job scope, so if I ask for a raise, he will say that I am not qualified enough to get a higher salary even though my job scope is the same as my co-workers who are getting paid more than me."
# KC, Retail
"Want to ask for leave also scared, imagine asking for a raise!"
# Ella, Purchasing Executive
"Due to social culture, asking for a raise is kind of a taboo. We were taught to obey instructions, but not negotiate or discuss ever since we are young making us unsure how to stand up for ourselves. To question or discuss an issue is considered a bad thing."
# Lee, Business Development Executive
"If I ask then my boss will think I don't appreciate what I have and that I don't appreciate the company and my job here."
Based on the opinions above, it can be concluded that most Malaysians are scared to ask for a pay raise and would rather be underpaid than stand up for what they deserve. But since we live in a society where standing up for yourself and being brave is often misinterpreted as being rude, it is completely understandable why Malaysians feel that way.
However, it is important that we cultivate a new culture of being brave and fighting for yourself and what you deserve. Malaysians need to understand that asking for a raise is normal and standing up for yourself is normal too.
Have you ever been rejected when asking for a raise? Share your experience in the comments section!