Towards safer workplaces

  • Nation
  • Friday, 28 Jun 2019

Equal opportunities: Yeoh presenting Aeon (M) Bhd staff member Siti Suhailah Mohammad Sabri with a badge to identify her as a PWD. Suhailah, who has a vision disability, has been working with the company for three months. Standing behind them are fellow Aeon employee Masmira Mohamed and Aeon Malaysia executive director Poh Ying Loo.

KUALA LUMPUR: Efforts will continue to create a safe workplace environment despite the government abstaining from voting on an international convention on workplace harassment, says Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minis­ter Hannah Yeoh.

“We will have more engagements with the Human Resources Ministry. We definitely want to work towards creating a work environment free of sexual harassment and discrimination for both men and women and this requires several engagements,” she said yesterday after visiting the Aeon Co (M) Bhd (Aeon) Business Academy to observe the company’s open interview session for people with disabilities (PWD).

It was reported that the Malaysian Trades Union Congress and the Malaysian Employers Federa­tion – which represented Malaysian workers and employers – had voted against the the Convention Concer­n­ing Elimina­tion of Violence and Harassment in the World of Work at the International Labour Conference in Geneva on June 21.

Both the Malaysian groups voted against the treaty because it included an LGBT clause.

On another matter, Yeoh said a new rule could see the public sector hiring more PWD.

At the same time, the government is working towards making that requirement a key performance index for government departments.

She said secretaries-general at the ministries would be asked to have PWD make up 1% of their respective workforce.

“The 1% rule has been stated in a circular. But currently no one is penalised for not doing so. By making it a KPI, secretaries-general now need to make sure that this goal is achieved,” she said.

The proposal was raised in Dewan Negara and the government was now working to implement it, she added.

She said government departments struggled to achieve the goal in the past as many feared the unknown.

“Some employers don’t know what is required when hiring PWD nor what can be expected.

“Others would immediately not hire a PWD when he or she is not suited for a job before even looking for other suitable roles for the candidate,” she said.

However, Yeoh said employers need only learn from others who have successfully hired PWD like Aeon.

She said the company hired 119 PWD in various departments and branches, which makes up 1.2% of its workforce.

“In Aeon’s experience, the staff retention rate among PWD workers is high at 95%. This loyalty translates to savings for the company as the cost spent on training new staff members is lessened,” she said.

On a separate matter, a group of disabled drivers have submitted a memorandum to the Trans­port Ministry asking for equality in regulations for e-hailing services

The group’s representative, Mohd Azahar Mohd Nordin, said many drivers complained about having to go through additional medical check-ups at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital.

“We understand the government allowed us to obtain the PSV licence, but we have to get a second and third medical and hearing test.

“All of us already have the OKU card, legally certifying us as OKU, in line with the Persons with Disabilities Act,” he said when submitting the memorandum at the ministry here.

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