After being delayed for a year, Malaysia's first ever minimum wage is now due to come into effect from 1 January 2014, the government has said.

The pay plans were first revealed back in July 2012, with workers due to receive minimum wages of MYR900 (US$292) per month in peninsular Malaysia, and MYR800 (US$260) in east Malaysia (on the island of Borneo) from 1 January 2013.

However, some 400 employers petitioned to be exempted from paying the new wages under the government's Minimum Wages (Amendment) Order.

But Human Resource Minister Datuk Richard Riot has told the Malaysian national news agency Bernama that: "The minimum wage will be fully enforced in January next year throughout the country."

The minimum wage is a basic wage excluding overtime, existing allowances and other benefits.

However, unions claim that to avoid paying it, some employers calculate other benefits as part of minimum wage, and even force workers to say they receive minimum wages even though they are actually paid less.