KUALA LUMPUR | The payment of wages in cash is prohibited unless approved by both the employee and the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) director-general to avoid manipulation.

Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar said employers who do not pay wages through a bank account are committing an offense punishable by a fine of up to RM50,000 under Section 25 and 25(A) of the Labour Act 1955 (Act 265).

At a joint operation held at Pasar Borong Kuala Lumpur today, Sivakumar said 34 employers were inspected and 19 of them paid wages in cash. Other offences included violations of working hours and non-compliance with the Minimum Wages Ordinance.

“The operation aims to address complaints regarding unpaid wages, lack of contributions to the Social Security Organization (Socso) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), and employers not paying salaries via bank accounts,” he told reporters after participating in the operation in the wholesale market.

Meanwhile, Sivakumar said that from January to October, a total of 1,654 investigations were opened for offences relating to payment of salaries, accommodation of workers and minimum wage orders, resulting in total fines of more than RM4.3 million.

He said that of the investigation papers opened, 357 cases were fined a total of RM391,236 while 775 cases were compounded RM3,958,500.

The investigation papers were opened under Act 265, Workers’ Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act 1990, and Minimum Wages Order 2022.

He said the ministry and relevant departments are determined to ensure that there is no element of forced labour in the country and that integrated operations will continue throughout the country.

“I have stressed several times that if there are complaints from employees or the embassies, we will take stern action against any employer who does not comply with the existing laws in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention,” he said.