Tuesday, November 6, 2018

MALAYSIA::: CLAIM OF BONDED LABOUR IN BENTONG, PAHANG

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MALAYSIAN TRADES UNION CONGRESS PENANG DIVISION - CLAIM OF BONDED LABOUR IN BENTONG, PAHANG

MTUC Penang Division calls upon the police, and the Ministry Of Human Resources, to commence an immediate investigation in respect of the claim of bonded labour by a group of workers from Tamil Nadu, India.

The claim, by the workers concerned, would tantamount to modern day slavery which our country cannot condone as we  do not tolerate such uncivilsed and  immoral conduct by employers. The employers involved, if investigations establishes the fact of bonded labour, must be made to face the full force of the law.

The claim by the workers involved that they were intimidated with physical harm is criminal in nature and the authorities ought to establish if it was a fact and, if so, commence appropriate action thereof.

Workers, irregardless of whether they are citizens of the country or not,  must be accorded their rights to universally accepted labour standards. Any employer who behaves otherwise must be made accountable for their violiation of the law. They must pay for their crime!

MTUC Penang Division believes that the case in hand is only a dip in the ocean. We are also of the view that such cases occur because of weakness in the recuritment of migrant workers. On this score we welcome the Human Resources Minisrer's recent announcement of the termination of the middle man in employment of migrant workers. The said decision, we think, would eradicate the inhuman exploitation of migrant workers.

In conclusion we pray that the cause, of the Tamil Nadu bonded/slavery workers in Bentong Pahang, would not be sweept under the carpet by our police and the Ministry Of Human Resources.


K.VEERIAH
Secretary
Malaysian Trades Union Congress
Penang Division
0164184520
5.11.2018

Saturday, November 3, 2018

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MALAYSIAN TRADES UNION CONGRESS (MTUC) PENANG DIVISION - THE 2019 NATIONAL BUDGET

PRESS RELEASE BY THE MALAYSIAN TRADES UNION CONGRESS (MTUC) PENANG DIVISION - THE 2019 NATIONAL BUDGET

MTUC Penang Division wishes to express its appreciation with regards to the Pakatan Harapan government's budget declaration to undertake a review of all labour legislation affecting the country's workers - a committment that was never made by the previous government!

Whilst welcoming the said budget undertaking it is our view that it would be appropriate, for the government, to form a labour law reform commission compromising of labour law practitioners from the workers movement, employers, the bar council and others.

Given the fact that there has never been an attempt to undertake a complete revamp of the existing  labour legislations in the past,  we are convinced that a commission, mandated to overhaul the labour laws of the country, would be in order.

Laws, such as the Industrial Relations Act 1967, the Employment Act 1955, the Trade Union Act 1959, the Social Security Act 1969 etc, needs to be placed under a microsopic review so as to ensure that our government confirms with internationally accepted labour standards.

As an example, as to how out dated we are, is the Termination & Lay Off Regulations 1980 which has never seen a  change over the last 38 years! Under the said regulation workers who are terminated on account of a retrenchment exercise as an example are only entitled to a severance payment of: -

* 10 days wages for each year of service if employed for 12 months or more but less then 2 years

* 15 days wages for each year of service if employed for more then 2 years but less then 5 years and

* 20 days of wages for each year of service if employed for 5 years or more service.

This is only an illustration of the unjust labour protection that is accorded to the working population of the nation. It is , therefore, our demand that a labour law reform commission be instituted with the objective to review the existing labour laws of the country.

We, in the MTUC, are not jumping in joy with the announcement of a minimum wage of RM1,100 effective 1.1.2019! Our demand has always been, and we will never compromise on the issue, that the minimum wage cannot be lesser than RM1500.00! On this issue we must state that we are are disappointed, with the lack of political will by the Pakatan Harapan, on the matter.

The Hon. Minister's announcement that an Appeal Indistrial Court would be constitued is welcomed. As a matter of fact such a proposition was formulated, by industrial realtions practitioners, for a long time. 

In conclusion we wish to record our appreciation to the government's proactive measures to assist the B40 citizens of the country all of whom are from the working class.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520
2.11.2018



Friday, November 2, 2018

Malaysia :::"monopolisation and manipulation" of recruitment of workers from Bangladesh.

PRESS STATEMENT FROM MTUC PENANG DIVISION

MTUC Penang Division refers to the FMT  posting of today, with regards to the "monopolisation and manipulation" of recruitment of workers from Bangaldesh, and is shocked with  the revelation that Malaysian politicians and officials were paid bribes in the employment of workers from that country. It is also shocking that even Human Resoucres managers were bribed in the exercise!

We take cognisance of FMT's posting, citing the Daily Star newspaper of Bangladesh, as the source in the said matter.

According to the said newspaper's report the then home affairs minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi placed the monopoly, given to an IT company Synerflux, under the Official Secrets Act of our country.

MTUC Penang Division had registered its objection, to such an unjustified abuse of the home minister's power even then - see FMT posting of 17.3.2016 "Placing workers related contract under OSA a smoke screen".

In the light of this latest exposure MTUC Penang Division calls upon the authorities to, immediately, commence investigations to identify the goverment officials, human resourses managers and anyone else who were implicated in the matter. And, in our view, such investigations must include the then home minister YB Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and even government officials who have left service.

If the Daily Star of Bangladesh's report is of substances,  it would stand as testimony to the fact that workers of that country were subjected to exploitation that can only be best described as bonded labour and, that too, for the enrichment of politicians and civil servants of Malaysia.

MTUC Penang Division, having taken notice that the Dhaka High Court of Bangladesh, has ordered that an inter ministeral committee be form to investigate the matter with a deadline of 6 months hopes that the same urgency be adpoted by our government in the matter.

In conclusion MTUC Penang Division wishes to extend our salutations to the Daily Star newspaper of Bangladesh for its exposure of the said issue.


K.Veeriah
Secretary
Malaysian Trades Union Congress
Penang Division
016 4184529
1.11.2018


Friday, October 26, 2018

Hold negligent bosses responsible too, unionist tells minister

GEORGE TOWN: A unionist today urged the government to look into holding employers responsible for workplace accidents which occur due to negligence, saying present laws allow them to escape prosecution.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

PRESS RELEASE by MTUC Penang Division on the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy

PRESS RELEASE by MTUC Penang Division on the Bukit Kukus landslide tragedy


MTUC Penang Division is horrified with the statement of the Mayor of Penang, Yew Tung Seang, that the road project must go on regardless of anything!

Is the Honourable mayor taking the position that irregardless of the real possibilities of workers dying on the job work must go on? Having regards to the fact that hill slope soil mitigative measures are non existence at the said worksite, let alone in all other hill slope developments,  it is beyond comprehension that the mayor thinks otherwise. His position is like saying that where even fools dare not venture he would do so! So much so for the concept of accountability that the Pakatan Harapan administration has been shouting about!

The misplaced stand of the Penang mayor notwithstanding MTUC Penang Division reiterates its demand that all work in progress on all hill slope development in Penang be stopped with immediate effect.

On this issue we demand that the Department Of Occupational and Safety (DOSH) issues work-stop order on, not only the worksite in question, but all other hill site development projects in Penang.This can be done because the jurisdiction to do so is vested with DOSH under the relevant provision of the Occupational Health and Safety Act  and not the Penang state government or the "decorated" mayor!

It is MTUC Penang's view that if the DOSH fails to institue such stop work orders it better close shop so that tax payers money can be utilised for other cause.

MTUC Penang Division also calls upon the Minister Of Human Resources, whose jurisdiction the DOSH is parked, to direct that the full provisions of the law be enforced without political inclination because the real concerns are the lives of workers. Any default in the matter would only be a manifestation of the Minister's, and the DOSH's, lack of conviction in the administration of the law in the matter.

K.Veeriah
Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520


Monday, October 22, 2018

MTUC Penang Division, having taken notice of Penang Forum's

MTUC Penang Division, having taken notice of Penang Forum's
statement that it had warned the state government of the dangers of hill clearings in Bukit Kukus and other areas, is of the view that the state government, the contractors and all other related agencies ought to be held responsible for its total disregard to such advice from experts in that field.

It is also our view that if such warnings had been heeded, and remedial course of actions instituted including suspension of work in progress, the tragedy of the unjust loss of lives of workers could have been avoided.

MTUC Penang Division also finds it completely unforgiving that slope mitigating measures were almost not put in place by those involved in such hill side projects as reported. The question that than needs to be postulated is this - who are those responsible and whether proper cause of action ought to be brought against them? We believe the answer is obvious.

MTUC Penang Division also wishes to make reference to the Penang chief minister's statement that heavy rain could have been the underlying cause to the landslide at Bukit Kukus. Our response to him is this- you do not need to be a rocket scientist to apprehend the reality of landslides on hill sites what more when the slopes are, as reported, 60-90 degress, during the year end rainy season! If only the state government and the relevant authorities had taken proactive measures, knowing that the rains would have an impact on the fragile hills of Penang, this tragedy could have been avoided. The Tanjong Bungah lanslide, that robbed the lives of 11 workers last year, ought to have been a lesson but the powers that be have, very regretably,  adopted a short term memory in the matter.

MTUC Penang Division is also dissappointed with the Penang Chief Minister's statement that hill slope work-in-progress would not be stopped. Given the fact that there has not been any soil erosion mitigating measures taken at any of the hill slope developments in the state as reported we are appalled at his stand on the matter. He, apparently, seems to be divorced from the possibilities of yet another unwarranted tragedy!

Given such circumstaces MTUC Penang Division calls upon the Department Of Occupational Health And Safety (DOSH) to institute action against those responsible for all or any breach of the law including the breach of the work-stop order so issued in regards to the work-site in question. DOSH should not, and cannot, compromise on the matter. We also implore upon DOSH to issue stop-work orders on all hill site developments in Penang until such time they comply with accepted soil erosion mitigating measures. We, further, call upon all other relevant authorities to commence their own investigations in the matter so as to ensure a holistic probe of this unwarranted tragedy.

We also wish to extend our deepest and heartfelt condolences to the famalies who have lost their loved ones.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)
Penang Division
21.10.2018
Contact- 016 4184520

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Bangladeshi, Indonesian found dead in Penang

MTUC Penang Division, at the on-set,  extends its heartfelt condolences to the famalies of today's landslide  at the construction site of the Paya Terubong by pass road project in Penang.

Given the fact that this comes close to another landslide diaster at Tanjung Bungah, where 11 workers became victims, MTUC Penang Division is of the view that  all construction works on hill sides and elevated slopes in the state be stopped immediately so as to ensure that such tragedies do not occur yet again.

MTUC Penang Division is given to understand that a stop-work order has been issued at the construction site concerned following an incident last Thursday. That being the case the question that we wish to pose is whether there was on-going work in breach of such stop-work orde? If the answer is in affirmative than it is our position that the full extend of the law be enforced onto those responsible. If the situation is otherwise our issue is why workers were housed on the slopes when they ought to have been provided safe and proper accomodation?

The latest tragedy clearly, in our opinion, shows the utter disregard for a safe worksite culture by employers who must be held accountable for the needless lost of lives of workers. We, therefore, demand that a commission of inquiry be formed to investigate the said tragedy.

Given this case MTUC Penang Division is of the considered view that the Penang state government ought to re-think its proposed Pan Island Link highway and transport projects. As we are given to understand a large portion of the said projects would entail massive work in the sensitive hill terrains including the Paya Terubong area. We confess we are no experts on such matters but we think the incidences of hill site landslides stand as indicators of the fragile challenges to the existing eco system of the island.

K.Veeriah
Secretary
MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520



Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Moktar said the victims were believed to be inside the containers used to house them at the site when the landslide occurred.
Saadon said so far, rescuers have found the body of a 35-year-old Bangladeshi and a 19-year-old Indonesian, while a Myanmar national was found alive with a broken leg.
"All the victims were found under the containers. There are six containers at the site besides several wooden shacks," said Saadon.
He added that three others have been reported missing by friends and family members, and rescuers are searching for them.
They have been identified as Baktiar and Suberi from Indonesia while the other is a Myanmar national.
Saadon also said that the actual number of people missing is unconfirmed, with some saying up to seven, and this will only be known once the operation is completed.
An Indonesian construction worker, who only wished to be known as Endo, 36, said three of his family members from Sulawesi are missing.
More than 100 rescue personnel were dispatched to the scene after receiving a distress call at 1.54pm.