Yenwan Chong


In July 2023, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced that government-linked companies in Malaysia will pay interns a minimum monthly allowance of RM800. However, there are currently no government policy nor regulations on intern allowance for private sector companies in Malaysia. While there were many media reports on the pros and cons of mandatory payment to interns in Malaysia, local academia research on this issue has been scarce. In view of the importance of a plurality of stakeholder perspectives, this study investigates what constitutes fair payment from the view of prospective student interns on the payment of industrial training allowances. Primary data was collected using a semi-structured survey questionnaire from a sample of ninety senior undergraduates in a public university in Malaysia who are required to undergo compulsory practicum training soon in order to graduate. Content analysis is employed to make sense of the textual data obtained from the open ended question items in the questionnaire. The quantum that students consider as an appropriate amount for industrial or practicum allowance ranges from RM500 to RM2000. The respondents highlighted a multitude of factors that should be considered in order to determine the amount of allowance to be paid to practicum students. These factors can be grouped into five themes namely career development opportunities, intern job characteristics, host company characteristics, interns’ characteristics, cost of living and other issues. Determination of just pay for workers, including the fair compensation for interns is complex. This study highlighted a number of factors that should be taken into account to determine the fair compensation for interns. Striking a balance between competing factors and different stakeholders’ interests is important for formulating effective internship programs to develop skilled human resources that are vital for a country’s balanced and sustainable development.


 fair compensation, industrial training, practicum allowance, unpaid internship