MTUC urges Dewan Negara to reject 'rushed' labour law amendments

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 13 Oct 2019

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has urged the Dewan Negara to reject all eight amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 passed by Dewan Rakyat, saying that the amendments were "rushed".

MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor (pic) said Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran tabled the proposed amendments without the endorsement of the labour centre and Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

He said the minister should have received the consensus from the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) on the amendments before tabling the proposals in Dewan Rakyat last Monday (Oct 7).

The permanent constituents of the NLAC include the Human Resources Ministry, MTUC and MEF.

"The Bill was rushed through in Dewan Rakyat and we hope the Dewan Negara will do the right thing by sending this Bill back to the NLAC so that it can be discussed and finalised by the legitimate representatives of workers and employers in this country.

"In tabling the amendments unilaterally, Kulasegaran clearly reneged on his own pledge to give the NLAC full mandate to scrutinise and finalise amendments to the three main labour laws before they are presented for Government and Parliament's approval.

"His action also clearly contradicts the International Labour Organisation's Convention 144 – Tripartite Consultation, which Malaysia ratified in 2002," he said.

Abdul Halim said MTUC has sent a memorandum to all 65 senators in Dewan Negara, urging them to withhold approving the amendments and to obtain the endorsement of the NLAC as agreed by the minister.

He said MTUC's hope now hinged on the wisdom of Dewan Negara to "reject bad laws", which did not reflect the aspirations and needs of the main stakeholders, namely the MTUC and MEF.

"The actions of the minister in rushing off the amendments to Parliament was a betrayal of the trust placed by workers and unions in the ministry, particularly Kulasegaran, all this while," he said.

Abdul Halim said Dewan Negara must not allow Kulasegaran to undermine the role of NLAC and the spirit of tripartism as it would "greatly endanger" the future of the labour movement and the rights of workers.

He said despite MTUC's reminders on the minister's pledge that NLAC will be given the right to deliberate and reach a consensus on the amendments, Kulasegaran did not convene an NLAC meeting for that purpose.

"Instead on Sept 26, 2019, we were informed by the Ministry that the minister had unilaterally submitted proposed amendments to the three labour laws to the Attorney General's Chambers (AGC) for approval," he said.

The three main laws are the Industrial Relations Act 1967, the Trade Unions Act 1959 and the Employment Act 1955.

"Even more shocking is the AGC took only 10 days to approve the amendments to such important laws which contains hundreds of provisions and sections," he said.

Kulasegaran had previously responded to claims that he did not consult MTUC, saying that the government had conducted nine National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meetings this year and various technical committee meetings since January.

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