Thursday, September 18, 2014

Malaysia among the worst for rights of workers

Malaysia is ranked among the worst countries in the world to work in, according to the recently released International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index.

Among the 139 countries that were studied for a period of a year, Malaysia was placed 22nd from the bottom which ranked lower than Asean neighbours Myanmar, Indonesia and Singapore in exercising worker rights.
The countries which were categorised using a rating scale from 1 to 5+, where 1 is for countries that have guaranteed labour rights like Uruguay, Germany and France. 
Malaysia, was categorised as 5 where workers have very minimal rights and are subjected to unfair labour practices, with 5+ being for war-torn countries without any law for worker rights at all, like Syria, Somalia and Palestine.
Civil liberties, rights to establish or join unions, trade union activities, rights to collective bargaining and rights to strike were among the indicators taken to determine the countries index ratings.
The Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM), Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (Jerit) and Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor at a joint press conference today condemned the government for its lack of role in upholding worker rights.
“It is shameful that Malaysia is classified as among the worst countries for workers when the prime minister wants us to compete and be among the developing countries in the year 2020,” PSM treasurer A Sivarajan (below) said.
The coalition also slammed the government for being more interested in bringing in foreign investors with incentives at the “expense of workers who are exploited for profit”.
Meanwhile, Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor advisor Irene Xavier accused the government of not being “union friendly”, hence, the rampant deficiency in worker rights.
“All activists and NGOs know that our government is anti-union. The right to be a trade union member is on paper only.”
Jerit Worker Coordinator, Sivaranjani demanded for the government to revamp the laws regarding worker rights, as there are many contradictions especially in areas of jurisdiction between the Human Resources Ministry and Immigration Department.
“The laws for workers need to be reviewed according to the universal worker law. There are two set of bodies enforcing laws that are contradictory to each other.”
The coalition said that it will write a letter to the Human Resources Ministry to demand an answer to the ranking of Malaysia, as there are over 12 million Malaysian and three million foreign workers affected by improper worker rights in the country.

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