Row over MTUC and politics

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010

PETALING JAYA: Outgoing MTUC secretary-general G. Rajasegaran has come under fire for suggesting that the organisation should shed its anti-government image.

Aspiring secretary-general and Kuala Langat MP Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid said Rajasegaran’s suggestion created an impression that the MTUC election was between pro-establishment and anti-establishment groups.

“It is wrong to create such an impression, as MTUC was established to fight for the rights and welfare of workers,” he said.

Abdullah Sani, a PKR MP, noted that political affiliation had never been an issue.

He was responding yesterday to Rajasegaran’s comment that the MTUC had been perceived to be anti-government because some of the leaders were in the opposition party.

Bernama quoted Rajasegaran as saying that it was vital for incoming council members to eradicate such a perception and work with the government for the benefit of workers.

The MTUC elections will be held tomorrow. Incumbent MTUC president Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud is a PKR member and the party’s Kelana Jaya division chief.

Syed Shahir is defending his post in a straight fight with deputy president Khalid Atan. Syed Shahir had served two terms after toppling former president Zainal Rampak in 2004.

Abdullah Sani, an MTUC executive council member, is engaged in a three-cornered fight with National Union of Bank Employees secretary-general J. Solomon and Abdul Halim Mansor of National Union of Petroleum and Chemical Industries.

Both Abdullah Sani and Syed Shahir had opted out of the recent PKR elections as, under the MTUC constitution, its office bearers were not allowed to hold top positions in two separate organisations.

Abdullah Sani said he was in the fray to fight for the workers.

“We do not oppose for the sake of opposing. We fight in the best interest of the workers.

He said being an MP was an advantage as it allowed him the opportunity to raise workers issues in Parliament.

“For example, the proposed Employment (Amendment) Bill 2010 was withdrawn after the second reading on Oct 12 because we strongly opposed certain clauses that would be detrimental to employees, especially contract workers.

“We have pushed for 90-day maternity leave and the setting up of a RM40mil retrenchment fund, among others,” he said.

Abdullah Sani said he would continue to bring up issues that were of concern to the workers and the general public such as the rising price of goods, escalating property prices, and lack of comfortable and affordable housing.

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