(I had the opportunity to ask the Deputy Minister of Human Resources during question time as regards the proposed and may be shelved unemployment insurance scheme. Kindly read. Thanks )
Media Statement by M.Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat and DAP National Vice Chairman in Parliament House on14thJune2012
Human Resources Minister Datuk Subramaniam should make a Ministerial Statement on the Unemployment Insurance Scheme.
On Monday 14th June 2012, MCA President made a shocking announcement that the National Economic Council meeting has agreed to shelve the unemployment insurance scheme for Malaysian workers.
The council’s main members are the Prime MinisterDatuk Seri Najib, Human Resources Minister Datuk Subramaniam, International Trade and Industry Minister Dato Mustapha Mohamad and Dr Chua Soi Lek
Dr. Chua is reported to have said “to defer all plans on the unemployment insurance scheme before the implementation of the minimum wage”.
Related to this matter is the minimum wage order which will be gazetted on July 1st with Peninsular private employees to be paid a minimum of RM900 and Sabah and Sarawak employees will earn nothing less than RM800 a month.
The proposed unemployment scheme will act as a safety net for over 10 million employees in the private sector. The MTUC first suggested in 1998 of this safety net for employees. They even suggested an employer and employee contribute RM1 each a month, which suggestion was never taken seriously and never even went for discussion by the then Prime Minister Dr Mahathir.
Now this scheme has come back for serious discussion with the establishment of a retrenchment insurance scheme at a workshop involving ILO, MTUC and MEF which took place on June 5th.
Chua’s anti labour interest argument is that the insurance scheme will impose an increased financial burden on business. This is a very pro business man stand by Dr.
Chua that overlooks the needs of poor workers who are not properly organized and do not possess the bargaining power for a safety net on their livelihood.
It is the Government’s responsibility to intervene and safe guard workers who now number around 10 million in
Of these 10 million workers, 34% of workers earn below the official poverty line of RM720 and 70% earn less than RM1,5000 a month. These workers need protection and being the vulnerable group, the need of this scheme is of paramount importance and relevance.
Today during question time in the Parliament House, I had posed a supplementary question to the Deputy Minister of Human Resources. I asked if it is true that the Unemployment Insurance Scheme has been shelved as mentioned by the MCA President as reported in the press.
She replied that the unemployment scheme proposal is very much alive and it is now at the discussion stage. She reiterated that the scheme has not been shelved. To this I retorted that Dr. Chua is lying to appease the business community.
Now who is the Minister of Human Resources? Is it Dr Chua or Dr Subramaniam? Or as regards certain workers issues, Dr Chua has a say and can make announcement on these policy matters?
Although Dr Chua is not a cabinet member yet he makes bold announcement on policy matters as though he is the relevant minister.
Dr Subra should wake up and take his duties seriously. I would suggest that Dr Subra takes this opportunity to clear the air on what is going on as regards the Unemployment Insurance Scheme.
We should not over look that this scheme for the workers has been suggested over 15 years ago and nothing much and concrete has taken place.
Dr Subra should take the opportunity to make a Ministerial Statement in Parliament as this is permitted by the Standing Orders of the Dewan Rakyat.
If Dr Subra exercises this option which he should do, it will enhance his image and his ability to handle his Ministry’s affairs. He cannot and should not bow to the MCA President who is not even a Cabinet Minister.