Sunday, January 12, 2014

MALAYSIA>>Hong Leong saved by Najib connection?

Nube says the authorities have not acted against the bank despite complaints about discrimination.
KUALA LUMPUR: The National Union of Bank Employees (Nube) today accused Hong Leong Bank Berhad (HLB) of marginalising employees who are appealing against transfers orders.
Its secretary general, J Solomon, said the union had complained to various authorities to no avail.
He speculated that the bank was being let off the hook because one of its directors is Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s brother.

“How is it that HLB is exempted from the law?” he said. “Is it because Nazim Razak is a member of the board of directors?”
HLB merged with EON Bank in 2011. As part of the restructuring, HLB gave transfer orders to some employees, but a number of them refused to budge while waiting for replies to their appeals.
Among their complaints was that their salaries would not cover the higher living costs they would incur in the towns they were assigned to.
Nube said the defiant employees were now subject to discriminatory actions by the bank. For example, according to Nube assistant secretary general A Karuna, they are not allowed access to the toilets and the Muslims among them are allegedly barred from the suraus.
Karuna also said they had not been paid their December salaries and contractual bonuses.
She questioned the lack of action from the Ministry of Human Resources against the bank.
“The role of the government is to assist the people,” she said. “We informed the Industrial Relations Department on Oct 28, but there has been no action. The ministry is aware of the issue, but it has claimed that it has no power to do anything.”
Solomon noted that six Pakatan MPs raised the issue during the parliament session on Dec 2, “but Richard Riot told them the issue is complex and he would give a written reply.” Riot is the Minister of Human Resources.
Also on Dec 2, Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Jamil Khir Baharom questioned why Malay Muslim NGOs that were championing the Allah issue were not at the forefront to champion the Muslim employees’ rights.
In relation to this, Selangor Perkasa invited Nube for a briefing yesterday.
Nube protest
Nube has organised a mini protest to fight for the affected employees and it took off on Dec 18. Union members from all over Malaysia used two days of their annual leave to come to Kuala Lumpur to protest outside the HLB premises in Jalan Perak.
The protest is scheduled to continue until the bank restores what Nube says are the employees’ rights and reinstates their colleagues who have been sacked for defying the transfer orders.

FMT wrote a letter to HLB’s Corporate Affairs Department this morning for a response from the bank. No reply had been received when this report was uploaded.
However the bank issued a statement yesterday stating that the allegation that it disallowed some Nube members to pray at the Kelantan and Kuantan branches’ prayer room (or surau) was a gross distortion of the facts.
“Hong Leong Bank categorically affirms that it is respectful of all religious practices. The bank respects the religious beliefs of all its employees and is supportive of their freedom to practice their faith,” it had said.

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