Whither labour legislation reform in Malaysia?

Info seputar HK Hari Ini 2020 – 2021.

From the beginning, the current Malaysian labour regulation reform exercise was an outcome of Malaysia’s involvement in the Trans-Pacific Collaboration (TPP). In 2015, the Malaysian federal government authorized a Malaysia-US Work Consistency Plan. It assured to take actions to change labour regulations to adapt with International Labour Requirements.

The reform workout did not happen rapidly. This might have been due to the unilateral withdrawal of United States from the TPP, as well as the later rebranding of TPP right into Comprehensive and also Progressive Arrangement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Even with the dynamic of profession liberalisation, prior to the 14th General Election (GE14) on 9 Might 2018, then-Malaysian resistance union Pakatan Harapan promised to make certain protection of workers’ rights at the same level with international criteria in sticking to ILO conventions.

After the program adjustment, the Ministry of Human being Resources revealed the suggested changes to Trade Union Act 1959, Industrial Relations Act 1967 and also Employment Act 1955. Both Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and the Work Law Reform Union (LLRC) offered their versions of reform proposals.

In their brief 22-month rule, the Industrial Relations Act is the only act that Pakatan Harapan has actually travelled through parliament. Given that the development of the new Perikatan Nasional (National Alliance) government as an outcome of legislators crossing over in February 2020, the Malaysian profession union neighborhood has ended up being frustrated with the absence of development in work law reform.

As the Perikatan Nasional program fights to safeguard its razor thin majority in the parliament as well as handle the Covid-19 dilemma, LLRC has remained to make public statements and also organized webinars to promote for implementation of the Industrial Relations Act 2020, and for reform of the Profession Union Act and also Work Act.

Labour legislation reform is critical in resolving asymmetric power between owners of resources and the workers in Malaysia. This semi-authoritarian state continues to employ repressive measures created by the colonial regimen to tame the labour activity.

The triple work concern of Indonesia’s females unionists The fragile balancing of labour throughout the house, office and also union is no little problem.

In 1940-1941, the British colonial routine established Profession Unions Ordinance and also Profession Disputes Statute to suppress and regulate a militant labour movement initiated by the Communist Party of Malaya. The regulation gave the program substantial optional powers to reject registration or ban profession unions involved in “unlawful” tasks. Militant union leaders that were taken into consideration communist sympathisers were implemented or eradicated.

The subsequent changes to the Trade Union Regulation after World War II required the federation of profession unions to sign up within certain profession, industry and occupation classifications, a step intended to damage general work unions led by communist sympathisers. The highly restrictive and undemocratic legislation, which goes against the concept of flexibility of association, has actually made it through up until today. Trade Unions are fragmentised by clearly specified sectors. As an example the federal government declined the application of Electric Market Employees’ Union to stand for employees in electronic devices manufacturing facilities.

In the post-colonial age, profession unions were, as well as are, suffocated by rigid, colonially-inherited labour regulations good to owners of funding. The right to strike and picket are seriously limited in the Profession Union Act and also Industrial Relations Act. In-house unions were motivated after execution of the Look-East Plan in 1980s. Till today, digital employees have actually been denied their right to register a nationwide union of electronics employees.

Therefore of the overbearing control of the work activity as well as the fade-away of union militancy, the work earnings share of Malaysian employees continue to be low at 35.2 percent in 2017, in comparison with various other advanced economic situations such as Singapore, South Korea, United States and also UK.

(Resource: The annual record 2018 of the Reserve Bank of Malaysia– https://www.bnm.gov.my/documents/20124/791626/cp01_001_box.pdf)After the GE14, the government revealed a Shared Prosperity Vision 2030(SPV2030

), which intends to accomplish an enthusiastic 48 percent of work revenue share by 2030. Unfortunately, the federal government’s action plans stopped working to determine the issues of uneven power between the capital proprietors and also the labour rooted in labour legislations. On the other hand, the Central Bank of Malaysia has competed that Malaysian workers were underpaid with comparable productivity with innovative economies. The statutory body has urged the government to utilize policy tools to boost the web link between wages and productivity, for example through cooperation of agencies looking after minimum wage and productivity, reforming Industrial Relations Act, Profession Unions Act, Work and also the other regulations to make sure freedom of organization, non-discrimination as well as removal of forced work. The Covid-19 situation has left the majority of employees unsafe, as only 6 percent of Malaysian employees are unionised. Throughout numerous motion control orders,

the government has actually permitted companies to “negotiate “with workers on wage reduction. This is an inadequately thought out plan because a lot of the workers do not have efficient trade unions to bargain jointly on their part. The extraordinary Covid-19 pandemic shows the function of trade unions is even more vital in safeguarding employees ‘legal rights during the health and social dilemma. The Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has

stated in his labour day message that the federal government was in the procedure of modifying labour laws, particularly the Work Act, he did not disclose exactly how it can be done, given that the government has been neglecting the civil society including LLRC’s phone call to finish the emergency situation and reunite the parliament. The realisation of labour regulation reform calls for the cumulative initiative of both the state as well as trade unions. On the one hand, the government should comprehend that application of labour legislation reform will strengthen the employees’

negotiating power as well as assist in accomplishment of the 48 percent target of work revenue share desired in the SPV2030. On the various other hand, Malaysian profession unions should be joined to take more activities to require the speedy labour regulation reforms.