Thursday, November 3, 2011

The nation cannot and must not go back to a situation of slave like employment

3/11/11

The DAP team was led by YB Lim Kit Siang. YB's A.Sivanesan and YB Wong Ho Leong(Sibu) also attended the protest by workers organized by Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC). Over hundred workers gathered to lend support which took place opposite the EPF building in Kuala Lumpur. I issued a press statement .

The nation cannot and must not go back to slave like employment
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We are here today to express the DAP’s full support for today’s MTUC protest against the recent amendments to the Employment Act 1955. 17 venues have been picked by the MTUC nation wide to show discontent over amendments to Employment Act.

A few days ago, , Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said that the MTUC had no right to protest against amendments to the Employment Act as it is not a trade dispute.

Unions have the right to protest and MTUC’s protest against the amendments to the Employment Act which will erode the workers’ rights is necessary, justified and an exercise of the workers’ democratic right.

As the Minister for Manpower, instead of disputing the Union’s right to protest, he ought to answer why he has failed to listen to the Union’s objections which resulted in today’s protest.

Today’s nationwide protest by MTUC has proven 2 more things, in addition to Subramanim’;s failure to listen to the Union’s legitimate and justified objections.

Firstly, it shows that despite the BN government’s highly pubicised slogan of “Rakyat Didahulukan”, the government was not walking the talk when it bulldozed the controversial amendments in the Dewan Rakyat on October 6 despite strong objections from Opposition MPs.

Outside the Dewan Rakyat, MTUC and many NGOs have long voiced their strong objections, why was Subramanim so adamant in tabling and bulldozing the amendments in Parliament?

It is no wonder that he has been labeled as an anti labour Minister.

Secondly, it proves that BN government is not pro workers or else it would not have proposed and tabled amendments which will erode the workers’ rights.

Subramanim has recently said that the government's move of creating manpower contractors to provide workers for employers under the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2011 is aimed at protecting workers' rights.

Obviously he has failed to understand or has chosen to ignore the MTUC’s main objection to the amendments.

On October 15, MTUC has in a statement said that the provision for human resource contractors will be a throwback to the pre-Independence labour market.

Its statement said:-

“The move to recognise and facilitate the supply of labour through contractors will cause the employment relationship to become one that is between slave and slave-owner classes."

“Malaysia has worked to abolish such slave-like employment but now we are returning to it. “

The nation cannot and must not go back to slave like employment

DAP calls on the Prime Minister to accept MTUC’s objections and not to table the amendments to the Senate for debate and adoption.

For his part in failing to listen to the legitimate voices of the Unions and workers, Subramaniam should resign his Minister’s post.

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