A tweet by a soon-to-be intern has surfaced on the Twittersphere. The tweet showed a photo of a female student wearing what looks like a cut from a box saying, ‘interns are not free laborers‘.
This tweet has gained traction of 7.9 million views. She further explained it in the thread stating, “Living in Kuala Lumpur, how am I supposed to pay rent, food and transportation when I’m not paid with a minimum wage, at least?”
She added that interns should be paid with dignity and treated as employees of the company where they interned. “No more exploitation”, she wrote. She claimed that she will continue to fight for this right along with ‘demokratiksiswa‘, a Malaysian union for students.
This tweet has since sparked a debate among Twitter users. Some supported her cause by providing the realities that these students are facing i.e. interns welfare (overtime, leave, and work hours), bully cases etc. In addition, students are also required to pay the full amount of tuition fees during their internship despite the fact that they do not even go to classes or set foot in their respective educational institutions. You can find the tweet here:
In contrast, other Twitter users, such as those below, slammed her point of view since interns mostly do not carry the same weight of responsibilities as normal workers. Furthermore, the chances of companies taking in interns might be slim if the government were to set these students’ allowance to RM1500 a month.
Personally, I am a fan of Gen Z. They are the ones who know what they want and are vocal about it. As someone who had completed her internship without any allowances, I support her cause but I think since their service period is too short, it might affect companies more than they thought. It’s difficult to be fair because of this. After all, at the end of the day, they are still students. They need the training. Perhaps, the government can come up with clear guidelines as to what their training entails. This is to ensure that none of them is to be taken advantage of.
So, what do you think? Yes, minimum wage? No? Let me know in the comment section below.