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This Labour Day, let us recognise the labour of love by homemakers

Media statement by Sim Chee Keong, Pakatan Harapan candidate for P.45 Bukit Mertajam parliamentary constituency


For more than a hundred years, every year on 1 May, workers and the working classes are celebrated on Labour Day. It originated from the struggle of the labour movement advocating for an eight-hour day: eight hours of work, eight hours of play and eight hours of rest.  

The day is usually a public holiday in many countries including in Malaysia.

While workers’ rights in Malaysia in general are still far from perfect, one group of people is not even accorded due recognition for their labour: homemakers.

According to a parliamentary answer given to me on 21 March 2017, there are 2.8 million women who are homemakers in our country.

These homemakers are not recognised as “workers” proper, they do not receive any compensation for their labour, they do not have any social security and more often than not, they do not have any forms of insurance. Yet, they continue to work tirelessly day and night, including on Labour Day.

In economic terms, these 2.8 million homemakers contributed what I call “homemakers tax”, or “mommy tax”, amounting to RM33.6 billion a year, in form of missed income opportunity. (Calculated based on current minimum wage of RM1,000 a month)

To put things in perspective, income tax collection is RM30.1 billion while GST collection is about RM41.5 billion in 2017. (Source:

It is high time society recognise such labour of love.

Pakatan Harapan is committed to recognise homemakers for their contribution to our family, society and our country.

The Penang state government honours our homemaker through the annual Ibu Emas programme by giving an incentive of RM100 a year. The Penang Pakatan Harapan Penang is committed to expand the programme to give RM1,000 a year to women and mothers whose families earn below RM2,000 a month.

At the federal level, Pakatan Harapan GE14 manifesto reaffirms the commitment from GE13 to established a pension fund for homemakers, with the federal government contributing RM600 a year to the fund for each homemaker while her spouse will contribute 2% of their monthly income.

Happy Labour Day to fellow workers, and Happy Labour of Love Day to all homemakers in Malaysia.

Sim Chee Keong
Pakatan Harapan candidate for
P.45 Bukit Mertajam parliamentary constituency

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