PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is gearing up for its elections on Dec 22 considered to be crucial in view of the fast changing labour situation impacting 11 million workers in the country.
When nominations closed last Monday, incumbent president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud found himself being challenged by his deputy Mohamad Khalid Atan. Six other contestants are aspiring for the secretary-general’s slot vacated by G. Rajasegaran, who did not seek a re-election after serving for more than 17 years.
Another 48 unionists are contesting for the 11 vice-president’s posts, five of which are for the private sector and three each for the public sector and statutory bodies. MTUC sources said the contest would determine the course of the congress in the next three years, saying there were so many issues affecting workers that need to be resolved.
Whoever leads MTUC should be clear in which direction the congress needs to go to ensure that workers are fully protected and enjoy better work and living conditions, the sources said.
Among the crucial issues to be addressed is the government’s proposal to create high income workers through skilled and high technical jobs in the next 10 years.
MTUC’s 20-year fight to have minimum wages policy was also among issues that need immediate attention by the incoming council, they said.
The others are amendments to the various labour legislations such as the Employment Act 1955, Industrial Relations Act 1967 and Trade Union Act.
Observers see the MTUC losing its prowess to protect worker’s rights because the congress “is weakened from within due to factionalism.”
“It is essential that the new council work in unison and keep out politics and personal agenda to achieve its objective of being a true protector of workers,” the sources said. — BERNAMA