MTUC chief biased, say five unions


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 15 Jan 2003

By WANI MUTHIAH

PETALING JAYA: Five affiliates of MTUC want to table a no-confidence motion against its secretary-general G. Rajasekaran for allegedly failing to defuse the power struggle between its president Senator Zainal Rampak and deputy president Mohd Shafie BP Mammal. 

The unions, at a joint press conference yesterday, alleged that Rajasekaran had taken sides by backing Mohd Shafie, in addition to issuing inconsistent media statements on the issue. 

The unions are the All-Malayan Estates Staff Union (Amesu), National Union of Commercial Workers, Union of Beverage Industry Workers, Klang Port Management Staff Union and Printing Industries Employees Union. 

Amesu general-secretary S. Thamotharam, who acted as spokesman, claimed that Rajasekaran had dragged MTUC into the dispute by taking sides and this had tarnished the image of the congress. 

“The agreement between Zainal and Mohd Shafie was a private arrangement and had nothing to do with the congress. By taking sides Rajasekaran had involved the MTUC in an issue that does not involve the congress at all,” said Thamotharam. 

Zainal and Mohd Shafie had brokered a private agreement prior to the congress’ triennial delegates conference earlier this year, which stipulated that the president would make way for his deputy at the end of 2002 in exchange for the latter not contesting against him.  

Zainal, however, refused to give up the seat as agreed because several affiliates wanted him to stay on as president until his term expired next year. 

According to him, Rajasekaran as one of the chief executives of MTUC should not have interfered in the dispute unless the general council endorsed him to do so. 

“Rajasekaran shouldn’t have spoken to the media about the matter. It wouldn’t have become an issue if he hadn’t,” said Thamotharam. 

When asked if the affiliates would ask for disciplinary action to be instituted against Zainal for having made the agreement as an election ploy, Thamotharam said it was not a ploy and the congress president was staying on because the affiliates wanted him to. 

National Union of Newspaper Workers (NUNW) general secretary had issued a statement early this month that the agreement between Zainal and Mohd Shafie was a tactical move hatched “in the heat of the election campaign” to ensure that Zainal and his team won.  

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