Sunday, November 3, 2019

Transform The Industrial Relations Eco-system!

Press Release From MTUC Penang Division - Transform The Industrial Relations Eco-system!

The Human Resources Ministry's recent press release, stating that the MTUC was never sidelined in respect of the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, 1967, makes reference to the following matters:-

1. that, a total of 10 National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meetings were convened in 2019;

2. that, technical committees were constituted to deliberate on the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act, 1967; and

3. that, the MTUC was a party to all deliberations at both the NLAC and its technical committees.

We, in MTUC Penang Division, take cognisance of the above stated matters but are puzzled if that, in itself, tantamounts to MTUC's consensus to the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 so tabled by the Minister and passed by parliment.

On the above said matters we have been given to understand that there were no agreement at the NLAC and that the deliberations, at the technical committees, was ongoing when the amendments were tabled in parliment.

Whether the said amendments are positioned to confirm to  international labour standards is not the issue. What is pertinent, in our view, is whether the Pakatan Harapan government is beholden to an affirmative course of action to transform the industrial relations eco-system that has all the time favoured the empoyers/business class.

Recalibirating existing labour laws would only serve the purpose of compromises between the opposing forces but a transformation of the industrial relations eco-system without the shackles of legislative interferences, in our view, would enable the trade union movement to function as an effective socio-economic agent of change to the landscape of the working population of the nation.

Whilst the Ministry appears to champion international labour standards we find it unacceptable that ILO Convention 87, on the freedom of association and the protection to organise, is yet to be ratified by the government.

Under such circumstances we would urge the government not only to ratify ILO Convention 87 but also to remove all legislative obstacles that impedes, retards and/or encroaches into the realms of an independent trade union movement.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Press Release - Minimum Wage vs. Living Wage

MTUC Penang Division wishes to record its appreciation to Dr. Yeah Kim Leng of Sunway university for his statement that, a minimum wage of RM1200.00 as announced in the 2020 budget, was inadequate for an individual working in the Klang valley. We also appauld his views that a living wage i.e. sufficient income to meet the basic economic necessities of a worker as opposed to a minimum wage, be an appropriate measurement of wages.

(See FMT 28.10.2019)

We, in MTUC Penang Division had, as early as 8.12.2018, called upon the government to migrant from the minimum wage module to that of a living wage.

(See FMT 8.12.2018 "Have a living wage instead of minimum wage").

When we made that call, then, it was in the context of workers having to work excessive hours, including overtime (upto the legally permitted 104 hours a month!) work on rest days, public holidays and even taking on a second source of income to ensure sufficient earnings to meet the economic pressures of the ever escalting cost of living. Thus, we find it refreshing that our position, in the matter, has been vindicated from an economist consideration in the matter.

Though Dr. Yeah's point of reference was of an individual living, and working in the Klang valley, we are of the view the situation would be about the same outside the Klang valley as well. Cost, of basic essential goods and services  say, rice, cooking oil, petrol, gas, flour, fish, vegetable, lentils, electricity rates, toll etc etc being uniform throughout the country workers, by and large, wallow in the vicious low and middle income trap as a consequence of inequitable wages.

The fact, that, wage adjustments even by the Industrial Court, has been pegged to a distorted Consumer Price Index (CPI) inspite of the glaring mis-match to purchasing power parity, ought to hasten, in our view, a re-constituted approach to wage fixation in the country. We are convinced that the only progressive path is to embark on a living wage, as opposed to a minimum wage, policy.

In conclusion it is our view that, working excessive hours of work and seeking supplementary source of income, would, inevitably, result in the deterioation of workers' physical and mental health - an invisible loss of productivity and higher medical cost for employers and the nation which could be avoided by ensuring workers' a living wage.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Malaysia:::Ministry tables eight amendments to Industrial Relations Act

KUALA LUMPUR : The Human Resources Ministry today tabled eight amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 for first reading at the Dewan Rakyat.
"The amendments are part of the holistic review and in conformity to international standards in bringing transformation to the industrial relations landscape in the country," the ministry said in a statement.
The amendments, it said, were discussed at length with various stakeholders, and are in line with the Pakatan Harapan government's promise to enhance and improve workers' protection and to ensure workers' rights are at par with international standards.
Representations on Unfair Dismissals
A significant amendment proposed is for the repeal of the human resources minister's power to refer representations on dismissal cases to the Industrial Court. This power will instead be given to the Director-General for Industrial Relations in order to expedite the process.
Another change proposed is for cases that are not resolved through conciliation at the Department of Industrial Relations to be referred to the Industrial Court without further filtering.
Also, the employer or workman may be represented by any person of their choice, except lawyers, during the conciliation process at the Department of Industrial Relations.
Workman being under mental disability and not having a guardian may be represented by the next of kin at conciliation proceedings, subject to the approval of the High Court.
The proposed amendment will also enable the Industrial Court to make an award by not confining to the restrictions in the Second Schedule in the event the dismissal is due to union-busting.
It will also enable the minister to make an order to allow dismissed workman of any statutory authority to file a claim for unfair dismissal at the Department of Industrial Relations.
Appeal against Industrial Court Award to High Court
Another amendment proposed is to allow any person dissatisfied with an award of the Industrial Court to appeal to the High Court within 14 days from the date of the receipt of the award.
Enhancing the Recognition Process
The human resources minister's power to decide on matters relating to capacity and recognition issues involving trade unions is repealed under the amendments, and replaced by the Director-General for Industrial Relations in order to expedite the process.
"Currently, the recognition process involves two departments namely the Department of Industrial Relations and the Department of Trade Unions Affairs. With the proposed amendment, the recognition process will be under the purview of the Department of Industrial Relations only. This would expedite the process of recognition claim," the ministry said.
Sole Bargaining Rights
Another change is that, in line with the spirit of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, 1948, the establishment of trade unions will no longer be confined to trade, industry or occupation.
"This would allow multiplicity of trade unions in an organization. Due to this, the provision on the application for sole bargaining rights is introduced to enable the workmen to choose the preferred trade unions in the event there are more than one recognized trade union representing the workmen.
"This will ensure only one trade union, which has obtained the highest number of votes, to have sole bargaining rights to represent workmen in collective bargaining," the ministry said.
Allowing Trade Union of Workmen to Raise Questions of General Character Relating to Management Prerogatives
The proposed amendment will allow trade union of workmen to raise questions of general character relating to transfers, employment, termination of services due to redundancy, dismissal and reinstatement and assignment or allocation of work. At present, the trade unions can only raise matters of general characters on promotion.
Introducing Exceptions Before Matters Relating to Collective Bargaining Referred to Industrial Court
It is also proposed that trade disputes relating to collective bargaining be only referred to Industrial Court with the consent of the parties.
The exception is that if the trade disputes relate to the first collective agreement or to any essential services specified in the First Schedule, or if the trade disputes would result in acute crisis if not resolved expeditiously, and if the parties to the trade disputes are not acting in the good faith to resolve the trade dispute expeditiously.
Imposition of Interest
A further amendment empowers the Industrial Court to impose interest at the rate of 8% per annum, or lesser rate as the court may direct.
Reducing the List of Essential Services
It is also proposed that the First Schedule of the Essential Services be replaced with the new schedule in line with international labour standards.
"Apart from these proposed amendments, the minister of human resources is also reviewing several other labour legislations including the Employment Act 1955 and Trade Unions Act 1959, which is expected to be tabled soon," the ministry said.

Low Wage And Impact On Workers

Low Wage And Impact On Workers

Except for a minister, the general public does not seem to subscribe to the argument that a family of 4 can survive on RM980.00 a month and yet be categorised as living out of poverty in Malaysia!

On this score let us stand clear of Bank Negara Malaysia's own input that workers of the country ought to be paid a living wage as opposed to the inadequate minimum wage of RM1100.00 a month. According to Bank Negara an individual, living in Kuala Lumpur, ought to be paid RM2700.00 a month to sustain himself. The said report also estimates that for a family of 4 the living wage ought to be about RM6500.00.

However, the reality is, that, the vast majority of workers are wallowing in the low and middle income trap as a consequence of  inequitable wages that does not commensurate with the existing cost of living indices. The polemics, as to why and what has been the undercurrent to such a situation, may well strecth from the issue of promoting Malaysia as a low wage nation to the suppression of decent wage growth on account of an influx of migrant workers and much more.

That, in  a nut-shell, is a manifestation of the weak economic position of the workers of the nation.

Consequentially, their contributions, to the Emplyees Provident Fund (EPF) the only source of a private sector workers' retirement plan, has been so much compromised that they do not have enough savings to sustain themselves after retirement at age 60.

The fact remains that more than 50% of EPF contributors do not have enough savings to sustain themselves after their retirement. Thus, one need not be a rocket scientist to conclude that the bottom 40, and to a large extend the middle 40, of the economically deprived segment of the country will be faced with 2 options upon retirement - one depend on social security, which is almost non-existence in our country, or continue to seek employment albeit at low paying jobs at the dictum of uncaring employers! Sadly, in the second option retired citizens would continue to meet the nation's manpower needs but at subsistence income levels!

Thus, what are the alternatives that can, at the least, mitigate the situation?

It is my view that the following proactive initiatives ought to considered by the government:-

1. that a living wage, as so recommended by Bank Negara, be adpoted as the basis of wage fixation so that workers are paid a decent living wage that would reflect the actual cost of living factors;

2. that employers' contribution, to the  EPF,  be set at a much more appropriate rate so that private sector workers savings would be sufficient to meet their post retirement living expenses;

3. that, having regards to the higher life expectantcy of Malaysians, the retirement age be revised to 65 years at the least so as to keep them in gainful employment; and

4. that, a comprehensive social security net, giving priority to health care protection for treatment of chronic health conditions such as kidney ailments, cancer, Parkinson's, Alzheiner, stroke etc, be formulated as the fact remains that our country is heading towards an ageing soceity.

It is no-gain saying that the working citizenry of the nation are the most margainlised segment of the population. That, sadly, is despite the indisputable reality that the nation's growth, economically or otherwise, was on the back of the blood, sweat and lives lost of the working class!

Thus, it is my contention that the government is under an obligation to commence restitutional reforms to address the plight of the workers - from wage reforms to a holistic reform to the obnoxious labour laws that has impeded the development of a vibrant workers' movement etc, etc. Such reforms, so implicitly assured by the Pakatan Harapan government, ought to be realised without procrastination as the issues, confronting the working population, are real and not an illusion!

Opinion Piece By:-

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, October 4, 2019


4-October 2019


1. Electronic Industry Employees’ Union Western Region, Peninsular Malaysia,
(hereinafter called the “Union”), was registered on 1-December 2009. The first
company the union organised was NEC Semiconductors (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, which
later came to be known as Renesas Semiconductor KL Sdn. Bhd. (hereinafter called
the “Company”), located at KM 15, Jalan Banting, Telok Panglima Garang, Selangor,
where the union President Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah was working.
2. Immediately after its first Triennial General Meeting on 8-Jan 2010, the Union
submitted its claim of recognition on 18-Jan 2010 when more than 70% (1,300
employees) enrolled as members of the Union, hoping to enjoy the benefits of a
collective agreement.
3. The Company embarked on a series of actions to avoid union representation of its
employees, as follows:
a. Dodging the receipt of the Union’s letter on its claim for recognition, when finally on
the fourth attempt on 8-Sep 2011, the Company acknowledged receipt of the Union’s
letter delivered through a private courier. The process took nine months.
b. The President of the union Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah, was dismissed by
Renesas on 26-Aug 2011 on an alleged misconduct that his actions were ‘contrary
to explicit company policies’. He was alleged to have made statements about treatment of workers in a closed Facebook Group, whose members were fellow workers. The wrongful dismissal case went before the Industrial Court and the Company settled by paying compensation in lieu of reinstatement in 2017.
c. The Company challenged the validity of the registration of the Union itself, and the qualification of the Union’s General Secretary, yours truly, the undersigned. When the Minister rejected this objection the Company proceeded to filed for a judicial review of the Minister’s decision to the High Court and on 28-June 2012, the High Court dismissed the Company’s application. The Company then appealed to the Court of Appeal who also unanimously dismissed the appeal on 5-Dec 2012.
d. Only after the Court of Appeal’s decision did the Director General of Industrial
Relations (DGIR) directed the Company to submit the names of employees in the
Company, who are under the scope of the Union, to enable to undertake a secret ballot as provided for under the Industrial Relations Act. Inspite of repeated reminders the Company refused to comply.

e. The DGIR finally acted by filing a case in the Magistrates Court in Putrajaya to prosecute the Company for not complying with the requirement of providing the list of employees and thereby obstructing its public officers from performing their duty.
On the day of hearing the Company provided the list and the DGIR withdrew the
f. The secret ballot was finally conducted and the Union obtained the majority, in a high security and tense atmosphere of harassment and intimidation.
g. The Minister ordered recognition to be accorded to the Union. The Company applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review of the Minister's decision to accord recognition. The High Court dismissed the Company's application on 27-Aug 2015.
The Company filed an Appeal to the Court of Appeal which was also dismissed.
h. At the same period the Union’s case on Union Busting activities by the Company
was referred to the Industrial Court which found the Company guilty on 8-Mar
2016. The Company applied to the High Court for a Judicial Review which dismissed
their case. The Company filed an Appeal to the Court of Appeal which was also
dismissed on 24-Jan 2017.

4. Collective Agreement Negotiations:
The Union’s collective agreement proposal consisting of 58 articles, was forwarded
to the Company on 21-Jun 2018.

5. After 14 months of negotiations we discussed about 25 articles but the parties concluded agreement to only 15 articles. The process is moving at a snail’s pace because the Company allocates only 2 to 3 hours for negotiations in a month.
Union’s repeated request for weekly meeting were rejected. At the current rate the collective agreement perhaps shall be concluded in another year or maybe two!
Also the Company rejected some important articles, listed below, rendering the
negotiation process meaningless.
a Effective date and Duration of Agreement.
b. Language and Copies of the Agreement.
c. Check-Off.

6. As a responsible corporate citizen, RENESAS Semiconductor KL Sdn. Bhd. places the community services as one of its top priorities but it is not reflected in the way the collective agreement negotiation is proceeding.

7. The Company with the history of inherent anti-union behaviour, continues to
stonewall the collective agreement negotiation.

8. Hence the union members picket today.

Bruno Periera
General Secretary
Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region, Peninsular Malaysia











Untuk pertanyaan, click link dibawah

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

US Sanctions Against A Malaysian Rubber Glove Company.

Press Release - US Sanctions Against A Malaysian Rubber Glove Company.

MTUC Penang Division views, with utmost concern, the decision of the United States to ban imports from a Malaysian rubber glove company. It is even more alarming that the said sanction was on account of an alleged abuse of workers right. We are given to understand such abuse included what has been described as bonded labour on account of the grossly injustice fees imposed on the workers by uncaring recruiting agents.

Though it is stated that the migrant workers, in the case of the company involved WRP Asia Pacific, paid inexorbitant amounts in the range of RM 20,000.00 to secure employment, we believe that migrant workers across  many sector face the same predicament.

In the case of WRP Asia Pacific it is a documented fact that the migrant workers initiated an action to withhold their labour, otherwise called a strike, on account of the company's failure to pay their wages and restriction of their movement etc.

And, it was reported, that, the Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia had, even as in February, 2019, admitted that the said company was in breach of multiple labour protective laws related to pay-cuts, overtime etc. It was also reported that the Minister Of Human Resources, himself, as stating that action would be instituted against the said company. Sadly, we are yet to hear of any course of action preferred against the said company.

That sad state of affairs brings us to the question of whether there is a true commitment, on the part of the Human Resoucers Ministry, to execute its mandatory obligations to bring errant employers to face the force of the law?

MTUC Penang believes that there are much, much more cases like that of WRP and our concern is whether the government is equally concerned in addressing the issue. Least the government forgets, the glove manufacturing sector contributes substantially to the industrial out-put of the economy.

And, our concern is the impact of the case of WRP on the glove manufacturing sector as a whole. Even more is our concern if the US sanction would escalate to other economic blocks like the European Union and the Uk NHS.

In conclusion MTUC Penang Division wishes to affirm that we support our Secretary-General, Bro. J. Soloman's suggestion (FMT today) that the government engages with MEF and MTUC on the issue.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Tuesday, September 24, 2019



MTUC Penang is gravely concerned with  the spillage of the corrosive nitric acid in a factory in the Bayan Lepas industrial zone, Penang as reported.

The underlying principle, of the Occupational Health And Safety Act, 1994, is premised on the concept of self regulation by employers in ensuring a safe work-place for its workers. And that includes regulations on the storage, marking and safe handling of corrosive materials.

From what we gather there, apparently, was a leakage in an old drum containing the said acid. If that be the truth it woul seem that the employer concerned was negligent in the proper storage of the said corrosive material that resulted in the worker involved sustaining corrosive burns to his hands.

Least we are accussed of mis-representation of the issue we call upon the Department Of Occupational And Safety (DOSH) to investigate the said incident. And, if it is so ascertained that the employer was, indeed, culpable in the matter appropriate course of punitive action be instituted against the employer.

In conclusion MTUC Penang Division wishes to extend its appreciation to the fire department's HAMZAT team for its timely response in containing the said spillage before it escalated.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520




MTUC Penang Division is shocked that a worker was shoot death, in the B.Braun factory in the Bayan Baru Industrial Zone, Penang by the police.

To the best of our knowledge such an incident has not occurred in Penang, or anywhere else for the matter.

Though we do not have full knowledge, of the circumstances leading to the fatal shooting of the victim, what concerns us is whether the unfortunate loss of a worker's life could have been avoided. What we want to know is whether the police officers involved ought to have acted in a manner to "nuterliase" the victim as opposed to shooting him death.

We, therefore, call upon the Inspector General Of Police to initiate a full commission of inquiry in the matter. We  also call upon the Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) to commence an inquest in the matter as we believe such an inquiry/inquest would establish the fact  as to whether the police personnels involved had acted within their standard operation procedures or otherwise.

As we are given to understand the worker victim had re-acted because he had been dismissed by the company, B.Braun, an investor from Germany. Thus, it is our view that an inquest, by SUHAKAM, ought to also investigate the fairness of the victim's dismissal as well as the response of the police in the matter.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, September 6, 2019

Landmark High Court decision against Malaysia Airlines empowers union leaders

Landmark High Court decision against Malaysia Airlines empowers union leaders: Judge Nordin Hassan orders MAS to pay compensation to Ismail Nasarudin for unlawful dismissal, saying it is all right for union leaders to issue press statements on workers’ plight.



MTUC Penang Division finds it completely unacceptable that the Penang state government has abdicated its moral responsibility in ensuring that developers, of low-cost and affordable homes, do not expliot the low and middle income wage earners by allowing such developers to coerce them to pay for add-ons.

On this score we wish to salute the Consumer Association Of Penang (CAP) for exposing the state of affairs.

Going by house buyers testimony, that they were made to fork out between RM120,000 to RM180,000 for their low-cost homes on account of the developers add ons, is nothing but day light robbery irrregardless of whether it was for a purchase of a parking lot or tilling work. In anycase the situation seems to indicate that the house buyers were left with no option to say that they do not need the such add ons.

As the testimony, of a RM42,000 house buyer stands, she was made to withdraw her entire savings to meet an additional payment of almost RM70,000 for a parking lot and a renovation package. This,  as we understand it, is explained by the Penang state government as an arrangement between the house buyer and the developer - a position that would seem acceptable except for the  question of where is the government's moral compass on ensuring the low and middle income wage earners protection to home ownership within the parameters so set by them! If a cost of a low cost house is RM42,000 or RM72,000  than it ought to be that and no developer should be permitted to impose any add ons. And, in our view, that responsibility falls on the shoulders of the state.

We, therefore, call upon the Penang state government to take a comprehensive review of the state of affairs with the objective to ensure that house buyers are protected from unscroplous developers. On this score we would implore the Penang state government to heed the CAP's views/input on the matter.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, August 30, 2019

Give details on FTAS, unions tell govt

Give details on FTAS, unions tell govt: National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers’ general secretary Gopal Kishnam N says trade unions should be consulted prior to each round of negotiations.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Key Performance Index On Industrial Court

Press Release - Key Performance Index On Industrial Court

MTUC takes notice of YB Dato Abdullah Sani's recent address in parliment on the issue of the conduct of the presiding Chairman of the Industrial Court, in the alleged case of Mega Steel, and are shocked that the very bastion of justice ie the industrial court has abdicated its inherent jurisdiction on account of a purported compliance to the Human Resources Minister's directive.

As we are given to understand the industrial court has been put under an obligation to dispose of cases within 12 months. We appreciate the fact that workers' cases be dealth with in the shortest possible time but what is disturbing is that, in the process, due justice to the workers involved can be compromised as in the case in question.

It is, thus, our case that the industrial court ought to be given the space to act on its own withouth any interference by the Minister. There is no gain saying that circumstances, in each case, will have considerations of its own. And the Honourable Industrial Court ought to  subscribe to the higher call of social justice without fear, or favour, to politically appointed authorities. A court of social justice, the Industrial Court, cannot be even viewed as subservient to thier Minister.

 At this juncture MTUC Penang ponders whether the Industrial Court should continue to be placed under the jurisdiction of a political apppointee i.e the Minister Of Human Resources  or ought to be escalated to an independent entity. On this score MTUC Penang Division re-calls that there was a proposal, a long time ago, to migrate the Industrial Court, to be structured within a division of the High Court of Malaysia. It was expounded that, by virtue of such a migration, the Industrial Court would be vested with the jurisdiction of a court of first instance and aggrieved parties having a right to an appeal as oppossed to a process of judicial review motions as the case so prevails.

We, in MTUC Penang Division, are of the opinion that the current government ought to give serious consideration to the above said possibility. In our view such a migration would remove the notion that the Industrial Court is beholden to the executive.

In conclusion we call upon the Honourable Minister Of Human Resources to refrain from interfering with the Industrial Court's inherent jurisdiction in the disposal of cases before it.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cases Of Union Busting, the NUBE's Fight

Press Release - Cases Of Union Busting, the NUBE's Fight

At the on-set MTUC Penang Division extends its salutations, to the National Union Of Bank Employees (NUBE), on its tenacious endeavours in fighting Bank Maumalat and Alliance Banks' "union busting" actions.

We are of the view that what happened in the case of the banks involved may well be prevalent in other sectors including, but not restricted, to the manufacturing and service sectors.

MTUC Penang Division has received complaints that employers are engaging workers on an apprenticeship but in reality they are assigned to carry out duties of production workers. We have, also, received reports that employers are resorting to engaging production workers on either a temporary or so called fixed term contract. And, in the worst case secnario, employers just "out-source" their manpower requirements to circumvent the workers right to trade union representation and protection of collective bargaining.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore,  is of the view that, irregadless of the nature of the contract, the right to trade union representation must be respected by employers having regards to Article 10 of the Federal Constitution. In consonant with the said Article 10, MTUC Penang Division calls upon the Minister Of Human Resources to make the necessary amendments, to the relevant labour legislations, so as to ensure workers rights, to trade union representation and collective bargainimg is not denied.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Monday, July 1, 2019

Malaysian Workers Don't Want To Work, Dr. Mahatir

Press Release - Malaysian Workers Don't Want To Work, Dr. Mahatir

There is this adage which states "look before you leap". Sadly the Minister of Human Resources gave no attetion to it when he elected to subscribe to the plantation owners' call for exploring the possibility of hiring workers from the African continent.

Today he back-tracks on the issue at the behest of his supreme leader the Prime Minister, Dr. Mahatir. Speaking of the "supreme leader" MTUC Penang Division abhors his statement that Malaysian workers "don't want to work" (The STAR page 2 30.6.2019). That was a sweeping statement devoid of any substantive evidence.

If Dr. Mahatir had confined his statement to the unwillingness of Malaysians to work in the plantation sector our  response would be simply this - if the Vietnamese and Indonesians have decided not to work in the plantations in Malaysia BECAUSE wages in their countries are comparable to what our plantation owners pay the big question is whether wages, in the Malaysian plantation sector, has stagnated in comparison to wage empowerment in those countries! The apparent answer, in our opinion,  is a big yes!

Consequentially,  what needs to be examined is the issue of living conditions and wage levels in the plantation sector that would attract our workers to seek employment in the said sector. Until and unless wages, and living conditions in the plantation sector is set at a conducive level, we will never be able to draw our labour force to fill the optimum labour requirement in the said sector.

Hence, we wish to remind the Pakatan Harapan government of its pledge to implement a montly wage of RM1500.00 though that, itself, is not an appropriate rate according to the Bank Negara Malaysia's report. In fact it is Bank Negara's recommendation that we move towards a 'living wage' module i.e. sufficient income levels to meet ones basic economic needs with a little bit to spare!

MTUC Penang Division, having regards to the matters set-out hereinbefore, calls upon the government to pursue labour centric reforms,  be it empowerment of wages, enhancement of working conditions or objective labour law reforms having regards to universally accepted labour standards.

In conclusion it is our view that issues, related to the working class struggle, ought not be viewed in a tunnel vision prespective. Demeaning statements such as "Malaysian Workers don't want to work" attributted to the Prime Minister is an insult to the contribution of the working class who build, and continue to be the back- bone, of our nation's progress, economic or otherwise.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Workers From Africa For The Plantation Sector

Press Release - Workers From Africa For The Plantation Sector

The Human Resources Minister's statement that, he has approached ambassdors of Africian nations for the possibility of providing workers to our plantation sector, is a matter of concern for us.
 The Minister attributes his action on account of workers from Vietnam and Indonesia shying away from working in the plantation sector. And the reason is, that, wages in their country has grown to match wages paid by the Malaysian plantation sector.

If the Minister's statement was a fact, which we have little reason to doubt, it brings into focus the question of whether wages of the Malaysian plantation workers has stagnated in comparison to  wage empowerment in Vietnam and Indinesia?

 Accepting the Minister's statement as a fact what that needs to be addressed is the solution to the reality i.e. whether we source for an alternative influx of migrant workers at "competetive" wages from Africa, or anywhere else for the matter, or we elect to empower the wage levels within the country.

On the said issue we wish to refresh the Minister, and the government, on the call, by none other than Bank Negara Malaysia, for a 'living wage' module to be adopted as oppossed to the current 'minimum wage' concept.

Given the fact that the current 'minimum wage' of RM 1,100 is judged as inadequate by our ASEAN  workers we are of the view that there is a serious mis-match of wage levels in Malaysia as compared to Vietnam and Indonesia. The solution therefore, in our opinion, is for our country to move up the wages chain least we are looked upon as a low wage dumpsite'

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, wishes to reiterate its demand that the government introduces a 'living wage' that would attract our workers to take up jobs not only in the plantation sector but all others sectors as well.

In conclusion it is our view that sourcing labour from one region or another would never be a solution unless our government empowers our workers with a equtiable living wage.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, June 28, 2019

Death of 4 workers in another landslide in Penang

Press Release - Death of 4 workers in another landslide in Penang

Another landslide and death of innocent workers in Penang! MTUC Penang Division wonders when the authorities will wake up to the reality that,  unsupervised development of the sensitive hill sides of Penang would continue to pose a threat to occurrences of landslides resulting in the unnessary death of workers.

 From the the Granito landslide in October, 2017 to the present case what is obvious is, that, there is complete lack of compliance to acceptable safety standards by uncaring developers of their  properties. The fact that, no permission was obtained to carry-out earth works by the resort involved in the present case,
 as reported, seems to affirm the reality that uncaring developers give no respect to the regulatory provisions of law- local government or otherwise.

MTUC Penang Division's primary concern is the death of workers, Malaysians or migrant as we are blind to nationality - a death of a worker is a loss of an innocent worker!

Under such circumstances MTUC Penang Division demands that the authorities impose the full application of the law against those responsible for the unwarranted death of the 4 Myanmar guest workers.

MTUC Penang Division Secretary
016 4184520

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Press Release - ILO Convention 87

MTUC Penang Division refers to the FMT report of 21.6.2019 wherein it had quoted the Human Resources Ministry as saying that the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) had, previously, rejected  the ratification of ILO Convention 87 by the government of Malaysia. The said Ministry's response is, apparently,  a rebuttal of the MTUC General Secretary Bro. J. Soloman's call, to the ILO,  to persuade the government of Malaysia to ratify Convention 87.

To the best of my knowledge MTUC has always pursued the goal of the ratification of ILO Convention 87 on the fundamental right to freedom of association and the right to organise. The MTUC's push, for the ratification of Convention 87,  has always been an utmost priority over the past decades. And, as I can re-collect, the MTUC has never compromised itself on the matter.

 MTUC Penang Division is, therefore,  baffelled at the statement of the Ministry Of Human Resources that MTUC had rejected ILO Convention 87 osentsibly on the grounds of multiplicity of unions at the workplace. We are also concerned with the Human Resources Ministry's statement that they abandoned amendments to the Trade Union Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967 on account of MTUC's purported  position with regards to Convention 87.

Firstly, it would be impossible for the MTUC leadership to deviate from the collective decision of the organisation on the pursuit of the ratification of Convention 87. Secondly, the ratification of Convention 87, in all its form,  has no middle path - you either adpot it lock, stock and barrel or not! And that is a fact that the MTUC is fully aware off. Under such circumstances we are of the view that the MTUC leadership would not have stood in the path of the ratification of Convention 87 as it has been a priority  item on MTUC's policy agenda for a long, long time.

Having made our point in the matter we wish to turn to the Ministry's decision to abandon  crucial amendments to the Trade Union Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967.

If the Pakatan Harapan government is truly committed to labour law reforms it must display that pledge by bringing about meaningful changes to the existing labour legislations. For the trade union movement to break out of the entrapment of uncaring and repulsive labour laws that curtails the  development of a vibrant labour movement it is vital that the Ministry Of Human Resources brings about the appropriate changes to the existing labour laws without any undue delay. Abandoning the urgently needed changes, to the prevailing restrictive provisions of the Trade Union Act 1959 and the Industrial Relations Act 1967, is not,  in our view, an option. We, therefore, would urge the Ministry Of Human Resources to review its position in the matter.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Monday, June 3, 2019

Death of worker at Tunas Gemilang TKK Enterprise worksite.

PRESS RELEASE FROM MTUC PENANG DIVISION  - Death of worker at Tunas Gemilang TKK Enterprise worksite.

MTUC Penang Division refers to the FMT report of today wherein it was reported that Tunas Gemilang TKK Enterprise has pleaded guilty to negligence in the death of an employee working on its 35 storey apartment project in Manjung, Sitiawan, Perak.

MTUC Penang Division commends the Department Of Occupational Safety And Health (DOSH) in bringing charges against the said errant employer. We, however, are mindful of the fact that cases of deaths and serious injuries taking place in the construction sector, and by extentsion in other sectors as well, is alarming compared to the number of employers so charged in court. It is, therefore, our demand that DOSH makes no compromises in throwing the book at employers who abdicate their duty of care to a safe place.

In the case of the death of the Tunas Gemilang worker there is a more pressing issue that needs to be answered. The issue is not whether the pit was fenced or sealed but how, and why the worker fell from an elevated work station? What that needs to be investigated is whether the said worker was provided with safety harness while working at that height as so required. It is, therefore, our call that pertinent issue be investigated and the appropriate cause of action be instituted if necessary.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, May 17, 2019

Press Release On Tuan SM Mohamad Idris Demise

MTUC Penang Division extends it's deepest and heartfelt condolences to the family of Sdr. SM Mohamaf Idris on his return to the arms of god almighty. He was a gaint in the quest for consumerism and the protection of the enviornment. His unwavering commitment, for the dual cause of consumer rights and the preservation of mother nature's gift to mankind, was lengendary.

We in MTUC Penang had the good fortune to have worked with Sahabat Alam Malaysia, an organisation he founded, on the Save Penang Hill campaign in the 1980s. And it is a testimony to his compassion, to safe-guard the fragile eco system of the hills of Penang, when he took a reasoned stand against the three island reclaimation and the Pan Island Transport projects that has been conceived by the government of Penang.

It is a tragedy that civil soceity has lost a devoted advocate for consumer and enviornment protection. We pray that his soul be blessed by the maker. Good bye to a true friend of the consumers and the hills of Penang!

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Thursday, May 2, 2019

MTUC PENANG DIVISION - PM's view on low wages


MTUC PENANG DIVISION - PM's view on low wages

The Honourable Prime Minister's view that low wages are better than none, sadly, is a representation of the mind set of the ultra capitalist class! What is shocking is the fact that it was parrotted by the Prime Minister of the "Malaysia Baru" government. Coming on the day that celebrated the sacrifices and contributions of the working people of the world it is, in our opinion, disgusting!

Let us remind the Prime Minister and, by extension, the Pakatan Harapan government, that this nation of ours was build on the blood, sweat and lives lost of the working class. From the early rubber plantation workers, the tin ore mine labourers, to those who build the railways, the harbours and everthing and anything that now stands to glorify this nation it was the product of labour's sacrificies. But the sad fact remains that the workers of the nation are the most marginalised segment of the country.

The plantation workers, the fishermen, the framers, those toilling in the manufacturing sectors etc are all entrapped in the vicious low income equation of the nation no thanks to the low wage policy of the regime that governed our country from independence to May 2018. And least it slips our memory a good 22 years of that was under the leadership of Tun Mahatir who I will refer to Mahatir 1.0!

It is obvious that he has not shed his pro capital inclination. Please permit me to label him "Mahatir 2.0". You do not need to be a rocket scientist to deciphere the fact that his call, of "low wage better than none" as a manifestation of the Pakatan Harapan's government's policy towards the workers of the nation. If that was not the case then where are the voices of the other equal partners of the Pakatan Harapan coaliation?

A promise to implement a minimum wage of RM1500.00 was set aside. The promise that the abolishment of the GST would bring down the cost of living has not materialised. The escalating cost of essential goods and services is a reality that only fools will dare to deny. These realities have been supported by findings from non other than Bank Negara in that the current minimun wage is not appropriate. In fact Bank Negara is of the view that the country ought to inmplement a "living wage"- a wage that would be adequate to meet the workers basic needs with a a bit more to spare.

Having regards to the Bank Negara's finding MTUC Penang Division demands that the existing Minimum Wage Act be replaced with a Living Wage Act  having the jurisdiction to enact a national living wage without the government's interference in the matter.  MTUC Penang Division also is in complete agreement with the response of Bro. J.Soloman the Secretary General of MTUC on the matter - FMT today.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Reforming Employment Act 1955

A coalition of 55 trade unions, worker organisations and NGOs have submitted proposals on Employment Act amendments to Ministry of Human Resources in January 2019.

We submitted 44 recommendations. The 7 key recommendations :
1) Same rights for all
2) 40 hour of work
3) 98 days maternity leave
4) No discrimination
5) Stop sexual harassment
6) End subcontracting activities
7) Migrant workers' right to redress.

More information please click :

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

MTUC Penang Division

MTUC Penang Division is given to understand that Flyglobal Charter Snd Bhd  an airline operating Haj flights to the holy land, has failed to pay wages to some 300 of its employees since January 2019.

According to the National Union Of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) it has received complaints from its members, and workers from the said airline, on the matter. According to NUFAM the said employer has also failed to make contributions to the EPF and SOCSO. Attempts, by NUFAM to seek a meeting with the said employer to pursue an amicable settlement in the matter, has not been successful on account of the management's refusal to meet up with the said union.

MTUC Penang Division, at the on-set, extends its solidarity with the affected workers of Flyglopal airlines - we can relate with the plight of having to meet with their economic obligations minus their only source of income. Having said that we condemn, in no uncertain terms, the lack of compassion on the part of the management of Flyglopal in denying the rightful, and lawful, wages due to the employees concerned. It is our view that irregardless of all other considerations no employer can claim a justification to deny or deprive workers of their hard earned wages. It is immoraly wrong and legally unacceptable!

Having regard to equity and good comscience we implore upon Flyglopal to  pay all outstanding wages to the workers concerned without any further delay. To the management of Flyglopal we say this- to work without been paid is nothing more than bonded labour!

MTUC Penang Division also calls upon the relevant agencies of the Ministry Of Human Resources to initiate immediate course of action in assisting NUFAM, and the affected workers, in the payment of wages so due to the workers. We also call upon MAVCOM and, by extension the Ministry Of Transport, to look into the matter as the said airline may well be in breach of its regulations in the matter.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Monday, March 11, 2019


MTUC Penang has taken sight of notices from a couple of MNCs involved in the electronic manufacturing sector announcing manpower downsizing, lower wage increases, lower bonuses and periodic plant shut-downs. Besides the said written annoucements that we have seen we have also received reports that other companies are also planning to implement such measures.

The said notices, that we have read, attributes a weak global demand, weaker growth and an uncertain global outlook as the underlying causes for the course of actions that are undertaken by the said employers. The notices that we have seen, and the informations that we are receving, seems to indicate that the electronic sector employers are initiating down sizing and shut downs from end March 2019 onwards. It is our beleive that we have only received a tiny bit of information and are of the view that the uncertainity of the global market would, in all probabality, impact upon most of the major players in the sector. It is, therefore, our view that the Penang state government ought to call for a meeting with the electronic manufacters in Penang so that the depth of the problem can be appreciated. Such a meeting would also give the state an insight as to the manufacturers plan of actions in the face of challenges facing the sector. We would also take the liberty to propose that the said meeting be inclusive of all stake-holders, including the unions.

On the issue of plant shut-downs MTUC Penang demands that full wages be paid during such periods as any loss of wages would, inevitably, put tremendous pressure on the economical needs of the workers especially so with the prevailling escalating cost of living factors.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Friday, March 8, 2019

MTUC Penang Division views with utmost concern the eviction of tenants from their Taman Manggis homes by the state government of Penang. It is our view that the scales of compassion, and social justice, ought to have been the over riding consideration over the state government's unilateral rules on the eligibility of occupation of the units so allocated to the poor.

As we understand it the said eviction is being justified, amongst other issues, on the occupants income exceeding the limits so set by the authorities. On this score the question that needs to be postulated is whether the affected people's income has taken them out of the bottom 40 (B40) of income parity? MTUC Penang Division, thus, calls upon the state government to disclose the income levels of all those who stand deprived of their homes i.e. if they have moved out of the bottom 40!

It is also our view that, irregardless of income levels, the government has a moral obligation to provide affordable housing to the middle and low income wage earners of the nation. We, nevertheless, take cognisance of the fact that it is easier said then done! That, however, cannot justify the state government's action in throwing the Taman Manggis citizens into the streets the end result being them joining the homeless statstic of Penang.

Whilst the state government is determined on the massive creation of man made islands in the name of bringing development where is the focus on affordable homes that are to be build in the said reclaimed islands? It is obvious, in our view, that the state is paying lip service to the plight of the B40 and M40 segment of the citizens as opposed to the interest of the capitalist class!

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, demands that all the tenants so displaced from their Taman Manggis homes be given back their homes. We also call upon the state to give utmost consideration in providing for affordable homes for the B40 and M40 in the state.

Press release

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Minister, remember the RM1,500 minimum wage pledge?

Press Release
MTUC Penang Division

MTUC Penang Division is shocked at the Human Resources Minister's statement that the current minimum wage of RM1100.00 is to "high" for some sectors- FMT today.

Firstly, we wish to remind the Minister of the Pakatan Harapan government's pledge to a minimum wage of RM1500.00 as declared in its manifesto. Secondly, we wish to remind him, least he  has a case of memory lost, of the Pakatan Harapan's commitment to enhancing the minimum wage to RM1500.00 over the period of its term of office.

Thirdly, we wish to tell the Minister to look at the indisputable fact that the Malaysian workers do not even earn a living wage. On this score we make reference to the Bank Negara's report that the working people of the nation ought to be paid a living wage as compared to a minimum wage. The said Bank Negara report, as we recollect, in a nut-shell states that our workers are not paid a decent living wage that would be adequate to meet the prevailing cost of living factors let alone residual income for home ownership etc.

The fact that workers, Malaysians or migrants,  work excessive overtime hours so as to meet their economical needs was exposed in the cases of workers employed in the rubber glove manufacturing sector, recently, stands as evidence that the wage levels of the working population of the country is grossly inadequate so much so it was equated to bonded labour!

Given the fact that the vast majority of the working citizens are entrapped in the B40 and M40 segment it is no gain saying that the Pakatan Government is beholden to structure, and execute, economic programmes to empower them. Let us also remind the Minister, and by extentsion the Pakatan Harapan government, that a failure to do would not augur well for the future of the current givernment!

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, calls upon the Minister Of Human Resources to refrain from making statements without considerations to the wider concerns of the working population on the issue of a decent living wage.

Secretary MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


In the space of the last few days statements have been attributed to the Penang chief minister, and the CEO of PBA Jaseni Maidinsa, on the possibilty of water charge rate increase and a statistical analysis of the water consumption trends in Penang, respectively.

 The Penang Chief Minister's statement was  that the Penang state government is seeking the federal goverment's "blessing" in increasing the water comsumption rates by between 10 to 20% in the state. He seems to justify such an increase on the basis that Penang's water comsumption levy is the lowest in the country.

On the other hand PBA's CEO states that the people of Penang have lowered their water consumption from 291 liters per capita per day  in 2010 to 276 liter in 2017. And he states it was because of the imposition of a water conservation surcharge (WCS) imposed on consumers. On this issue it needs to be asked whether it was the WCS that brought down consumption or whether it was as a result of the consumers awareness in reducing water consumption or a combination of the factors in the matter. On both counts it cannot be denied that water consumption, in the state, is on the down ward trend. Given that fact we find it hard to comprehend the state government's proposal to burden Penang water consumers with a 10 to 20% increase in water tariff.

As it is the working population are confronted with ever escalating cost of living and to, further, burden them with an increase in water consumption rates would not only be unjustified but immoral given the Pakatan Harapan's pledge to lighten the economic burden of the people.

MTUC Penang Division, therefore, calls upon the Penang state government to embark on creating greater awareness on conservation of water consumption as opposed to burdening the people of Penang with a 10 to 20% increase in water tariff.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Hyundai's Chennai plant workers protest over alleged delay in wage pay


A section of workers in Motor’s Chennai plant held a one-day token hunger strike on Wednesday, as the wage settlement talks with the management were inconclusive. 

The permanent workers, under the recognised union, had earlier decided to stay away from over time operations, and alleged the company was using the to substitute 

The United of Employees (UUHE), the which had entered into a wage settlement last time, has been in talks with the management for the settlement for the period 2018-2021. 

However, the talks remain inconclusive, with the negotiation on the percentage of salary hike yet to see success, said sources from the company on condition of anonymity.

spokesperson refuted the allegation, saying, “At the moment we are engaged in wage negotiations with the recognised  The talks are at an advanced stage, and are progressing smoothly. The employees, and have supported the meeting of production targets.”

“At Motor India,  our production lines are manned by our employees, but we also engage  These are on boarded after they have undergone an intensive one-year training at our plant, under senior supervisors. We do not employ unskilled workers on  the production lines,” said the company spokesperson.

Motor has over 2,200 permanent workers, around 3,500 and another 5,000 contract workers in the Sriperumbudur facility, they say.

Bukit Kukus - Worksite safety flaws


MTUC Penang Division, in reference to the Penang Chief Minister's statement  that the Bukit Kukus landslide was due to "worksite safety flaws" (FMT today) is of the view that it is nothing short of an admission that those hired to undertake the job had disregarded their duty of care in confirming with the threshold safety standards that they were beholden to observe.

The Chief Minister's views, on the issue, seems to be based on the findings of the probe conducted by the Penang Island City Council and that conducted by the Penang Deputy Chief 1. Inspite of such conclusion the Chief Minister says he will wait for the findings of the department of occupational safety and health (DOSH) before making a decision as to whether to retain the existing contractors or not. His position is like saying that I have my doubts with the findings of those I entrusted to investigate the matter!

MTUC Penang Division's stand is simply this- if the Penang Island City Council and the Deputy Chief Minister's finding on the issue at hand is that the contractors had compromised on the worksite safety standards there is no reason for the state to delay appropriate course of action against the current contractors who, obviously, have failed in their responsibilities. With or without a report from DOSH  the state must have the courage, and the conviction, to terminate the irresponsible contractors involved.

The Chief Minster has also expressed his hope that the project can continue. Our response to that is this - can the Chief Minister or the state government give an undertaking that there will be no more  "worksite safety flaws" if the work is allowed to continue?

On all account it is our view that it would be proper for the state government to act with utmost caution in the matter. Between development and loss of lives please choose the lesser evil.

MTUC Penang Division
016 4184520