By MAZWIN NIK ANIS, MUGUNTAN VANAR, STEPHEN THEN, SARBAN SINGH, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, HANIS ZAINAL, CLARISSA CHUNG, ASHLEY TANG, AMALINA AKASHAH, N.TRISHA , AMELIA B. ARULAPPAN and CAVINA LIM
PETALING JAYA: Employers are duty-bound to allow their workers to vote on polling day, says the Malaysian Employers Federation.
Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said bosses must allow employees who are registered voters to have a reasonable amount of time off.
This is for employees who are registered voters at polling centres nearby, he added.
“The time off can be even arranged in a staggered manner.
“That way, the company’s operations would not be disrupted too much. Of course there will be some disruption as even two to three hours’ time off can mean a productivity loss of 25% to 30% easily.
“But I would say that this is the national duty of employers to make sure their employees are able to cast their votes,” Shamsuddin said yesterday.
Employees who have registered as voters in another state are, however, not expected to be given time off at the company’s expense.
“Employers should grant annual leave to these employees, if they apply for it,” Shamsuddin noted.
Bernama reported that Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot has asked employers to allow their workers to vote.
“They (employees) must be given the opportunity,” he said.
This is in line with the Election Offences Act 1954 that requires employers to allow employees a reasonable period for voting.
Under Section 25(3) of the Act, any employer who refuses to allow workers to go out and vote on polling day is liable to a fine of not more than RM5,000 or one year in jail upon conviction.
The Election Commission has set polling day on May 9, a Wednesday.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general J. Solomon said having polls on a weekday will cause “inconvenience and hardship” to the public.
He said the general election comes once every five years, and as such, it is the responsibility of citizens to vote for leaders to represent them and run the country.
“The authorities should decide on the most suitable date for voters to carry out their duties.
“Why can’t the EC decide on a weekend, the ideal time for the population to cast their votes?” asked Solomon.
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