Thursday, January 31, 2013


Federal Court allows leave application by MTUC, 12 others Read more: Federal Court allows leave application by MTUC, 12 others - Latest - New Straits Times


PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has allowed a leave application by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and 12 others to appeal against the decision of a lower court that they cannot have access to an audit report and water concession agreement.

A five-man bench led by Datuk Hashim Yusoff yesterday unanimously allowed the application but limited the appeal on a single question of law.
 The legal question framed is whether the test of locus standi in the 1988 Supreme Court decision in the case of Lim Kit Siang versus United Engineers (M) Bhd was still applicable in view of the current provisions in the 2012 Court Rules.  
 Lim, then the parliamentary opposition leader, asked for a declaration that the letter of intent issued by the government to UEM to construct the North-South Highway was invalid.
 The Supreme Court by a 3-2 majority ruled that Lim had no locus standi or legal standing to bring the action.
 This was because he had failed to show that his private right had been infringed or he had suffered a special damage.
 The Court of Appeal in a 2-1 ruling in 2011 had also stated that the MTUC and others could not have access to the audit report and water concession agreement signed between the Selangor government and Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) on grounds they did not have the locus standi.
 Judges Datuk Paduka Zaleha Zahari and Datuk Wira Abu Samah Nordin held that the MTUC and the individuals were not "adversely affected" persons.
 Judge Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, who dissented, however, said he was upholding the 2010 High Court judgment as this was a public interest litigation.
 The applicants (MTUC and the 12) had named the government and the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry as parties to their suit.
 Earlier, lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, who represented the applicants, submitted the 1988 ruling was restrictive on who is an aggrieved person to bring a public interest case.
 He said leave ought to be granted for the apex court to review the 1988 decision and the present case also touched on freedom to obtain information.
 Senior Federal Counsel Suzana Atan submitted that the earlier supreme court ruling was still good law and leave should be rejected.

Foreign workers to pay levy with immediate effect, says Cabinet


PUTRAJAYA Jan 30 — The Cabinet decided today that foreign workers should pay the levy instead of employers The Star Online reported tonight The news portal said the decision is to be enforced with immediate effect on new foreign workers as well as those renewing their work pass employment pass or temporary work visit pass The Star quoted Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah as saying in a statement “The minimum wage which came into force this year has raised the salary for all workers on an average of between 30 per cent and 50 per cent or from RM600-RM700 per month to RM900 monthly “The Government’s move to impose a levy on foreign workers will not be a burden to them as the levy paid is between RM34 16 and RM154 16 per month as compared to a salary increase of between RM300 to RM500 per month ”.

MINIMUM WAGE: Get foreigners to pay their 

levies, not bosses

respond to the editorial "He ain't heavy, he's my brother"  (NST, Jan 10).

Having to deal with inflation following the implementation of national minimum wages is somewhat a forgone conclusion. You don't need a crystal ball to foresee the impending inflation.
However, while the minimum wages policy is supposed to alleviate the suffering of about 3.2 million private sector employees, the fact remains that more than two-thirds of them are actually foreign workers.
Be that as it may, MEF's concern does not exclusively pertain to the cost of recruiting foreign workers, which has undoubtedly increased significantly over the years.
MEF is, however, disturbed by the blatant discrimination brought upon local workers vis-à-vis their foreign counterparts as a result of the minimum wage policy.
By law, a minimum wage is defined to mean a basic wage, which is what both local and foreign workers take home at the end of each month.
Notwithstanding this, while local workers make a living on their basic wages and whatever overtime they are accorded, the foreign workers are provided additional benefits which their local counterparts do not enjoy.
Besides their minimum basic wages, foreign workers are also given free accommodation, water, electricity and transportation.
Furthermore, the high cost of levy -- which is a form of income tax for the foreign worker -- is currently being paid by employers and not the employees.
The rate of levy also increases by 10 per cent in the third year and 20 and 30 per cent in the fourth and fifth years of service respectively.
For example, in the manufacturing sector, employers are required to pay levy at the rate of RM1,250 for each new foreign worker and this escalates to RM1,625 in their fifth and final year of service.
Since April 2009, employers have paid RM2.5 billion per year in cost of levy, while the expected additional cost to employers to implement the national mini-mum wages policy for foreign workers is around RM8.4 billion annually.
These policies inadvertently give the impression that local workers will become more destitute than their foreign colleagues and, therefore, will need to continue to depend on government handouts in the long run.
Clearly, it costs more to recruit a foreigner than a local worker. To get rid of this double standard, MEF has proposed to the government that foreign workers be required to pay their own levy.
In the local context, the majority of employees pay their own income tax and only a few employees are given the privilege of having their employers pay their income tax.
MEF had also proposed that the cost of amenities be regarded as part of the national minimum wage to balance the treatment between local and foreign workers, as well as to cushion the impact of the sudden rise in costs on employers.
While employers have in principle agreed to the national minimum wage, let's make sure that there are no discrepancies, especially towards our Malaysian workers.
Certainly, employers are not in business to hand out subsidies to the masses. This should be the role of government.
Some employers have even suggested that the government devise a Skim Bantuan Majikan 1Malaysia to assist employers remain in business during challenging times.

mStar Online : MTUC, 12 Individu Dapat Kebenaran Merayu

mStar Online : MTUC, 12 Individu Dapat Kebenaran Merayu

PUTRAJAYA: Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) dan 12 pengguna air diberi kebenaran untuk merayu kepada Mahkamah Persekutuan berhubung keputusan Mahkamah Rayuan bahawa mereka tidak mempuyai hak di sisi undang-undang untuk mempunyai akses kepada perjanjian konsesi air dan laporan audit.
Panel lima anggota Mahkamah Persekutuan, yang dipengerusikan hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan Datuk Hashim Mohd Yusoff, sebulat suara memberi kebenaran kepada mereka untuk mengemukakan rayuan kepada Mahkamah Persekutuan.
"Kami membuat keputusan untuk memberi kebenaran kepada mereka mengemukakan rayuan berhubung satu persoalan (undang-undang) yang dicadangkan," kata Hashim ketika meluluskan permohonan mereka untuk membuat rayuan.
Panel itu turut dianggotai Datuk Ahmad Maarop, Datuk Hasan Lah, Datuk Zainun Ali dan Datuk Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha.
Persoalan undang-undang yang dimaksudkan ialah sama ada ujian locus standi (kedudukan undang-undang) dalam keputusan Mahkamah Agung pada 1988 dalam kes Kerajaan Malaysia lwn Lim Kit Siang masih boleh diguna pakai berikutan peruntukan sedia ada dalam Peraturan-peraturan Mahkamah 2012.
Keputusan pada Rabu membuka jalan bagi Mahkamah Persekutuan untuk meneliti semula kes yang dikendalikan Mahkamah Persekutuan pada 1988 - Kerajaan Malaysia lwn Lim Kit Siang - berhubung keperluan menentukan locus standi seseorang untuk memulakan semakan semula kehakiman dalam kes yang mempunyai kepentingan awam.
Dalam hujahnya, peguam Malik Imtiaz Sarwar, yang mewakili MTUC dan 12 individu berkenaan, berkata keputusan Mahkamah Persekutuan itu menyekat seseorang yang berasa terkilan untuk mengemukakan kes yang mempunyai kepentingan awam.
Dalam kes berkenaan, Lim Kit Siang, yang menjadi ketua pembangkang di Dewan Rakyat ketika itu, memohon mendapatkan perisytiharan bahawa surat hasrat yang dikeluarkan kerajaan kepada United Engineers (M) Bhd bagi pembinaan Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan, adalah tidak sah.
Mahkamah Agung dalam keputusan majoriti 3-2, mendapati Lim tidak mempunyai locus standi untuk bertindak demikian kerana beliau (Lim) gagal menunjukkan bahawa hak peribadinya dicabuli atau beliau telah mengalami kerugian khas.
Bagi kes ini (MTUC dan 12 individu), dalam keputusan 2-1 pada 2011, Mahkamah Rayuan mendapati MTUC dan 12 yang lain tidak diberi akses kepada laporan audit dan perjanjian konsesi air yang ditandatangani antara Kerajaan Persekutuan, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dan Syarikat Bekalan Air Selangor (Syabas) atas alasan mereka tidak mempunyai locus standi untuk berbuat demikian.
Hakim-hakim Mahkamah Rayuan ketika itu (kini hakim Mahkamah Persekutuan)Datin Paduka Zaleha Zahari dan Datuk Seri Abu Samah Nordin berpendapat bahawa MTUC dan individu berkenaan "bukan merupakan orang yang terjejas teruk".
Bagaimanapun, Hakim Mahkamah Rayuan Datuk Mohd Hishamudin Mohd Yunus, yang tidak bersetuju dengan pendapat itu, berpendirian bahawa mereka mempunyai locus standi memandangkan air adalah keperluan asas dalam kehidupan.
MTUC dan 12 yang lain, termasuk bekas pengerusinya Syed Sharir Syed Mohamud, serta dua kanak-kanak berusia 10 dan 15 tahun, menamakan Kementerian Tenaga, Teknologi Hijau dan Air dan Kerajaan Malaysia dalam saman mereka.
Pada 14 Jun, 2007, mereka mendapat kebenaran Mahkamah Tinggi untuk memulakan semakan semula kehakiman terhadap keengganan kementerian itu memberi mereka akses kepada dokumen berkenaan.
Mereka berkata sebagai pengguna air di Selangor, Putrajaya dan Kuala Lumpur, mereka berhak mendapat akses kepada laporan audit dan perjanjian konsesi yang ditandatangani pada 15 Disember 2004.
Mereka mendakwa laporan audit berkenaan menjadi asas bagi kenaikan tarif air sebanyak 15 peratus di Lembah Klang, yang diumumkan pada 14 Oktober 2006. Terdahulu, Peguam Kanan Persekutuan Suzana Atan dalam hujahnya berkata keputusan Mahkamah Agung pada 1988 masih terpakai dan oleh itu, kebenaran merayu tidak wajar diberi kepada pemohon. BERNAMA

mStar Online : Dasar Levi Pekerja Asing 1992 Dikuatkuasa Semula

mStar Online : Dasar Levi Pekerja Asing 1992 Dikuatkuasa Semula

KUALA LUMPUR: Jemaah Menteri pada Rabu memutuskan bahawa bayaran levi pekerja asing perlu ditanggung sepenuhnya oleh pekerja itu sendiri dan bukan lagi majikan, berkuat kuasa serta merta.
Menurut kenyataan daripada Kementerian Kewangan, dasar levi tahun 1992 itu dikuatkuasakan semula kepada pekerja asing baharu atau mereka yang ingin memperbaharui pas kerja, penggajian atau lawatan.
"Langkah kerajaan mengenakan levi kepada pekerja asing tidak akan membebankan mereka kerana kadar levi yang perlu dibayar adalah antara RM34.16 hingga RM154.16 sebulan berbanding peningkatan gaji mereka secara umumnya antara RM300 hingga RM500," menurut kenyataan itu.
Menurut kenyataan itu lagi, sejak April 2009, kerajaan memutuskan supaya bayaran levi pekerja asing itu ditanggung sepenuhnya oleh majikan bagi mengawal penggajian pekerja asing yang terlalu ramai.
Namun begitu, sejak pelaksanaan dasar gaji minimum RM900 sebulan di Semenanjung Malaysia dan RM800 di Sabah dan Sarawak berkuatkuasa 1 Januari, ia mendapat tentangan daripada beberapa pihak.
Antara yang menentang ialah Persekutuan Majikan-Majikan Malaysia (MEF) dan Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) yang mendakwa pekerja asing kini memperoleh pendapatan lebih dengan pelaksanaan dasar gaji minimum dan mampu membayar levi sendiri.
Kutipan levi yang diperkenalkan sejak tahun 1992, adalah bagi menampung perbelanjaan besar kerajaan ke atas kemudahan awam seperti klinik, jalan raya dan perkhidmatan-perkhidmatan lain yang dinikmati mereka bersama warga tempatan. - BERNAMA