Proposal 'will add to court backlog'


  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 03 Jun 2003

BY DALILAH IBRAHIM

PETALING JAYA: The proposal to automatically refer complaints of dismissed workers to the Industrial Court if they could not be resolved by the Industrial Relations Department within six months will only add on to the court’s backlog of cases, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said. 

Its executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said the proposal by the MTUC would only add extra burden to the court, which currently faced a huge backlog of cases. 

“We find it strange that the MTUC has come up with such a proposal without realising that the Industrial Court is bogged down with almost 2,000 cases carried over from previous years.” 

He said that the parties concerned should do “everything within their powers” to reduce the number of cases referred to the court. 

MTUC had recently proposed for an amendment to Section 20 (3) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 to abolish the discretionary power of the Human Resources Minister to decide whether to refer such cases to court. 

Its general-secretary G. Rajasekaran had claimed that Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn had rejected, without proper basis, many applications from workers who wanted their cases to be referred to court. 

The Bar Council had also expressed their support for the proposal. 

Shamsuddin said the minister was the competent authority to decide on the merits of dismissal cases, adding: “This is to ensure that frivolous cases would not be referred to the Industrial Court.”  

He added that any proposal over the issue must be made rationally without taxing the existing system. 

“When conciliation officers are well versed and competent with industrial relations laws, more cases will be solved and lesser cases need to be referred to the court,” he said, adding that the court handled an average of 1,512 cases annually if each of the 21 chairmen heard six cases each month. However, there are only 19 chairmen at the moment with two vacancies,” he added.  

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