KOTA KINABALU: The Federal Government has been urged to consult all stakeholders including the Sabah Law Society (SLS) before proposing legislative amendments, especially those affecting the state.
SLS president Roger Chin said Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran (pic) is proposing amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967, and will be tabling it in the current Parliament meeting.
As an example, he claims the provision relating to the qualification of president and chairman of the Industrial Court does not take into account a qualified person as defined in the Advocates Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 2) ("Advocates Ordinance").
The proposed amendments to Section 23A(2) of the IRA state that "...a qualified person as defined in the Legal Profession Act 1976 [Act 166] or any laws replacing it, with at least fifteen years of experience in labour and industrial relations in the ministry charged with the responsibility for human resources may be considered for appointment as a Chairman under subsection 23(2)."
"These amendments discriminate against a qualified person under the Advocates Ordinance, for example Sabahan lawyers.
"Here, he or she will not be accorded the same opportunity as a qualified person under the Legal Profession Act 1976 - West Malaysian lawyers, for consideration for appointment as a Chairman of the Industrial Court," Chin claims.
He said the SLS was also not consulted in regards to the proposed amendments to the Labour Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 67), which is only applicable in Sabah.
"The SLS and all other relevant stakeholders in Sabah should be consulted on all amendments to the law affecting Sabah," Chin said.
"But SLS was never consulted and we only got a copy of the proposed amendments to the IRA by the Human Resources Ministry upon an official request being made," he said in a statement.
Chin said they do not have sufficient time to review the proposed amendments in depth.
"We will write to the Human Resources Minister in due course to inform SLS' views of the proposed amendments.
"The SLS thus urges the government to withhold passing the proposed amendments to the IRA in its current form, to re-draft it and re-table it with amendments only after all the views of the relevant stakeholders including the SLS are considered," he said.
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