Seven expatriate musicians lose unfair dismissal suit

KUALA LUMPUR: The music has stopped for seven expatriate musicians after the Industrial Court threw out their unfair dismissal suit against the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO).

The court ruled there was no expectation of permanent employment for the expatriates.

The suit initiated by violinist Toko Inomoto and six other orchestra members challenged their former employer’s decision not to extend their contracts which expired on Aug 15, 2012.

Industrial Court chairman Hapipah Monel found that the musicians’ fixed term contracts had naturally expired, and therefore, the MPO had not even needed to dismiss them.

“It is clear that the claimants were not permanent employees and were never dismissed by the company ... therefore the claimants’ claims are hereby dismissed,” she ruled.

Although the suit contested the non-extension of the 2010-2012 contracts, the seven – Inomoto, timpanist Paul Andrew Philbert, trombonist Kevin Hugh Thompson, percussionist Darcey Layne Timmer­man, and violinists Markus Gunderman, Liu Jian and Brian C. Larson – were long-time employees, some even founding members of the MPO.

During the trial, the musicians claimed MPO’s then-chief operating officer Karina Ridzuan gave an assurance she intended to rehire all the musicians and would continue to do so.

However, the court did not accept the claim on the grounds that Karina was not called to testify.

Courts Crime , mpo , industrial