Tuesday, June 25, 2013


Joint  Statement – 25/6/2013
– Stop disciplinary action against workers for exercising their political rights.
We, the undersigned 41 civil society organizations, trade unions and concerned groups, are appalled by the actions of two DRB Hicom companies based in Pekan, namely HICOM Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and ISUZU HICOM Malaysia Sdn Bhd for taking disciplinary action against 18 workers who merely exercised their rights (outside working hours), as citizens, to participate in the democratic process.  Pursuant to a decision by the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC), which was also supported by the National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW),  to extract commitments on workers' rights from contesting candidates and political parties involved in GE13, workers throughout Malaysia, including in Pekan, met or attempted to meet  contesting candidates from all parties before election day, being on 5/5/2013.
Accordingly, on 3/5/2013, a group of 18 workers submitted the MTUC memorandum to one of the contesting candidates in the Pekan parliamentary constituency, which also happens to be the constituency that the Prime Minister of Malaysia was contesting.
On account of this act, disciplinary action has been initiated by 2  DRB HICOM companies based in Pekan against these 18 workers.
First, HICOM Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which assembles automobiles for Suzuki, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen, has issued show cause letters on  22/5/2013 to 16 workers, and speedily proceeded with the 'Domestic Inquiry' which began on 11/6/2013. At present the Domestic Inquiry is yet to end and there is no decision.
Second, ISUZU HICOM Malaysia Sdn Bhd, that assembles automobiles for Isuzu, also issued show cause letters to 2 workers. They, too, are awaiting the decision of the Domestic Inquiry. Significantly, the workers were NOT allowed the right to be represented by lawyers or representatives of the National Union, only by representatives from the work site committee.
We consider the action taken by the two DRB Hicom companies not only a gross violation of worker rights. It is also a violation of the right of citizens to participate in the democratic process of Malaysia, especially during elections. No employer should have the right to dictate directly or indirectly the political choices, activities and/or actions of their workers, more so outside employment hours. Workers, as citizens, of Malaysia must have the freedom to join and participate in any political party of their choice, offer themselves as candidates if they so wish, and involve themselves in campaigning in general elections.
Hence DRB Hicom's taking disciplinary action against these 18 workers for exercising their rights as citizens in the run-up to GE13, is completely uncalled for. It is a gross violation of the rights of these 18 workers. Under the circumstances, we demand that DRB Hicom stop all disciplinary actions being taken against these 18 workers immediately. If any of these 18 workers have already been terminated,  they should be reinstated immediately.
We understand that the charges leveled against the workers are (1) undermining the image or good name of the company orally, in writing or by action, and (2) bringing about or trying to bring about any form of influence or outside pressure to submit or support any external claim that is related to service be it an individual claim or claims of other employees.
We further understand that the employer DRB Hicom is trying to rationalise its action against the said 18 workers - in seeking a commitment on workers rights from the Pekan parliamentary candidate – by claiming that the workers might have given the 'false impression' that 'the company was involved in politics' which is contrary to the company's stance.
We find such an explanation laughable! Indeed, it is hypocritical given the fact that during the electoral campaign period, on 25/4/2013, the company had encouraged workers to go and meet the Barisan Nasional Paliamentary candidate for Pekan, Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, also the incumbent Prime Minister. Indeed, workers were allowed to go for the meeting during working hours! This event was also highlighted in Najib’s 13th General Election Pekan Constituency candidate website (http://www.parlimenpekan.com/?p=840), and the posting was entitled ‘Dato’ Sri Najib Beramah Mesra Dengan Warga DRB-Hicom Pekan’(Dato’ Sri Najib Socialize with DRB-Hicom citizenry). Later that very day women workers were also allowed by the company to meet up with Najib’s wife. 
Companies and businesses should never terminate a worker for reasons other than matters that relate to work performance and/or their conduct as a worker save in very exceptional cases, for eg, like when a worker is convicted of a criminal offence.
These 18 workers have families and children, and a termination would cause great hardship to their well-being and livelihood. Amongst the 18 are also trade union leaders, including also the current chairperson of MTUC Pahang Division. We hope that the termination of worker leaders does not occur and that the two DRB HICOM companies are not resorting to ‘union busting’.
We call on DRB Hicom, HICOM Automotive Manufacturers (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and ISUZU HICOM Malaysia Sdn Bhd to immediately discontinue disciplinary action against the said 18 workers, and if any be already terminated to immediately reinstate them without loss of benefits.
We call on Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak, being also the Member of Parliament for Pekan, to intervene and ensure that the rights of his constituents, as workers and as citizens, are not violated by employers.
Charles Hector
Mohd Roszeli bin Majid
Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf the 41 organisations listed below

Asia  Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development ( APWLD)
Asian Migrant Centre (AMC)
Association of Maybank Executives
Building and Wood Workers International Asia Pacific
Burma Campaign Malaysia
Clean Clothes Campaign
Community Action Network (CAN), Malaysia
Dignity International
Group of Concerned Citizens
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem News , UK 
Jawatankuasa Sahabat Rakyat (人民之友)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia
Kesatuan Pekerja Pekerja Kelab Semenanjung Malaysia
Legal Aid Commission, Sri Lanka
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysians for Beng Hock
Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
Migrante International
Migrants Rights Council,India
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Melaka
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Pahang
MTUC(Malaysian Trade Union Congress) Penang Division
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)
NUBE (National Union of Banking Employees), Malaysia
NUHBRW (National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers), Malaysia
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti, Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association
SUARAM (Suara Rakyat Malaysia)
Tenaganita, Malaysia
Think Centre, Singapore
Tenaga Nasional Berhad Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU), Malaysia
WARBE Development Foundation-Bangladesh
Women's Aid Organisation (WAO), Malaysia
Workers Assistance Center, Inc, Philippines
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)

For further information and clarification, please contact

Charles Hector (chef@tm.net.my; easytocall@yahoo.com - +6 019 2371 100)
Human Rights Defender and lawyer

Mohd Roszeli bin Majid (roszelimajid@yahoo.com + 6 012 387 4166)
Vice President (Private Sector) Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC), and also the President of the TNB Junior Officers Union

Pranom Somwong (p_somwong@yahoo.com - + 66831887600)
Workers Hub For Change(WH4C), Asia  Pacific  Forum on Women , Law and Development ( APWLD),

ILO Approves New Framework of Action on Social Dialogue

B260312-ILO-Headquarters.jpg - B260312-ILO-Headquarters.jpg
 ILO ofice

  Linda Eroke

Delegates at the just-concluded International Labour Conference (ILC), which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, have agreed on a framework for action to promote and strengthen social dialogue.
The framework was adopted by the Committee for the Recurrent Discussion on Social Dialogue – one of the four committees that met during the ILC – which was made up of government, worker and employer delegates.

MTUC Wants Employers To Provide Free Masks To Workers

PETALING JAYA, June 25 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today called on all employers to provide free face masks to their workers in view of the worsening haze in the country.

Priority should be given to those working in the field, like the construction, plantation and port workers, said its vice-president, A. Balasubramaniam.

He told Bernama that at present some of the workers were buying their own masks and this was imposing a financial burden on them.

Balasubramaniam, who is also the MTUC's Health and Safety Committee chairman, said the employers should also give due consideration to their employees who were asthmatic or suffering from other respiratory ailments.

He said these categories of workers should be given proper medical assistance or days off depending on the haze situation and their health needs.

He said it was hoped that the government would provide special incentives to encourage employers to ensure the health of their workers during this critical period.

-- BERNAMA http://www.bernama.com.my

Extend stay-home directive to workers, says union

The National Union of Banking Employees (Nube) wants Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to include workers in declaringa state of emergency in Muar and Malacca over the haze crisis.

Beginner’s guide to personal accident insurance

YOU might have heard of personal accident insurance — but is it worth getting one such policy? What differentiates it from Socso and life insurance coverage?

Personal accident (PA) Insurance is an annual policy which provides a lump-sum compensation in the event of injury, disability, or death caused solely by violent, accidental, external, and visible events.

Unlike life insurance (which covers any type of death), PA coverage is completely policy dependent. It pays a benefit due to death — which helps to protect loved ones against the inevitable devastating loss of income that will occur if the policy holder dies unexpectedly.

Premiums for PA policies are also generally cheaper than that for life insurance, due to it being a more restrictive policy.

While PA insurance is a good way to protect your family and dependants; note that it does not cover death by natural causes. If such things concern you, it might be a good idea to augment it with a life insurance policy.

PA Insurance can either be taken for yourself or a group policy for your family; 24-hour worldwide coverage is also provided.

How diferent is it from Socso coverage?

The Social Security Organisation (Socso) in Malaysia provides insurance coverage against job-related injuries and disabilities, workplace accidents, occupational diseases and death.

In short, this scheme only provides protection to employees who suffer from an accident or an occupational disease arising out of, and in the course of, his employment.

It covers accidents while at work, accidents while travelling, accidents during emergency situations, and diseases caused by the nature of work.

One might think that this is enough. However, accidents can happen anywhere and anytime.

While your job-related activities are covered by Socso, payouts such as the disablement benefit and disability pension are limited to under RM3,000 a month. How confident are you that you will remain accident-free elsewhere, or that the sums provided by Socso as being compensation be enough for your dependants? PA Insurance helps to add to that degree of assurance, no matter the place, time, and amount.

Where can I get a PA Insurance?

In the past, PA policies were purchased directly from insurance companies. These days, they underwrite policies which are then distributed by the big banks (many of them being related companies), Pos Malaysia and even telecommunication companies like Maxis, Digi, Celcom, and the Tune Group.

How much does it cost?

The cost of a PA policy depends on several factors such as the length of coverage, compensation, additional coverage on exclusion, your age (the premium can often rise with age), occupation (Class 3 jobs have a higher risk than Class 1 and 2), what activities you normally do, your health history and the number of people who benefit (beneficiaries).