Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Amend Employment Act to cover foreign workers, says Professors Council

Delegates attend the National Council of Professors' Conference on 'National Dilemma:Issues and Challenges of Foreign Workers in Malaysia' in Kuala Lumpur, December 16, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow FengDelegates attend the National Council of Professors' Conference on 'National Dilemma:Issues and Challenges of Foreign Workers in Malaysia' in Kuala Lumpur, December 16, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 16 — The National Professors Council (MPN) today proposed that the federal government amend the Employment (Amended) Act 2012 to cover the rights of foreign workers, as they are an important driver to the nation’s economy.

The council’s deputy secretary-general, Prof Dr Kamaruddin M. Said, said Putrajaya must realise that Malaysia will continue to rely on foreign labour - especially in labour intensive sectors - for quite some time to come and it is high time to accord them fair treatment.

“We have (an estimated) 6 million foreign workers. That is not a small number. We should get them protected by the Employment Act,” he said at a news conference.There are around 2.9 million legal foreign workers registered in Malaysia, according to police figures cited in an earlier presentation at the MPN’s conference on foreign workers. 

It is believed that there is one illegal immigrant for every documented migrant worker in the country, though both the police and MPN stressed that it is difficult to come to a conclusive number due to the elusive nature of illegal immigrants. 

According to estimates by the Human Resources Ministry cited by the police, legal and illegal migrant workers have sent some RM25 billion back to their home countries in 2013 alone. 

Kamaruddin said Malaysia must come to terms with the fact that it will continue to rely on foreign labour to keep its industries running, for the simple reason that there are not enough Malaysians to fill in the millions of jobs available. 

Of the country’s 30 million citizens, seven million are still in school and there are an estimated 13 million new job openings in various sectors ranging from agriculture to manufacturing, he added. 

“This means we must make sure foreign workers are treated well... we propose that we should change the term to guest workers, because legal foreign workers bring a very positive effect to our country,” he said. 

Kamaruddin said Putrajaya also needs to revamp the existing system used to bring in foreign workers, who in many cases end up deep in debt even before starting work as they rely on employment agencies that allegedly charge high fees to get them jobs. He said the MPN suggests that Malaysia enter into direct government-to-government arrangements with all countries that supply workers to Malaysia to shield the workers from exploitation.

In December last year, deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar told Parliament that Malaysia no longer uses middlemen to bring in foreign workers, choosing instead to hire them directly from their country of origin.

His statement came hot on the heels of a report by Bloomberg, which claimed that labour brokers were still used to supply cheap, bonded labour from Third World countries like Nepal to high-technology production lines owned by international companies based out of Malaysia.

- See more at:

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

MTUC alarmed at how JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd (JCY) foreign worker’s industrial action is swept under the carpets

Again and Again, Foreign Workers Issues have been swiftly swept under the Carpet 
20 November 2014
  Press Statement

Malaysian Trades Union Congress is alarmed at the manner in which the issue of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd (JCY) foreign worker’s industrial action is swept under the carpets by the Police. MTUC is disappointed with Deputy Home Minister Wan Junaide Wan Jaafer statement in the Dewan Rakyat that Industrial Action taken by JCY foreign workers was due to misunderstanding among the foreign workers themselves, especially since this claim is not supported by any facts.

On 4th September 2014, we wrote to the Ministry of Human Resources to hold a tripartite meeting to discuss the issues raised by JCY’s workers. However, till to date our request is fallen on deaf ears despite several follow-up calls to the ministry.

Our MTUC’s Johor Division officers on the ground, who have been following the case closely with some of JCY’s migrant workers, have been informed by the workers that their protest escalated when one of the staff of JCY provoked them by throwing stones at the workers when they refuse to engage in a game of throwing stones at each other in their workplace at Kulaijaya.

This group of about 20 workers was forcefully moved to Kulaijaya for participating in the industrial action in Tebrau over the death of their co-worker who complained of having difficulty in breathing. In Kulaijaya, they were forced to play a game of “volley ball with stone” as a form of punishment for taking part in the said incident.

According to the workers, they resorted to industrial action as they were dissatisfied with the manner in which the management handled their grievances. Their concerns regarding their health, work conditions, poor hostel facilities, calculation of overtime, not adhering to off day’s entitlement, unfair deductions in their salaries and low compensation for accident and injuries, were ignored by the management. Furthermore, the workers were also displeased with the attitude of the management such as beating them for minor mistakes, and not treating them with dignity and respect. The workers claimed that their concerns at workplace worsened over the years and therefore they were left with no other option but to resort to industrial action.

Clearly the police had failed and neglected the issues concerning the workers at their work place. The police investigation only concentrated on one side of the incident. This not only raises concerns on the confident and credibility in police investigation but also raises the issues of biasness in the investigation process, especially in the absence of transparent and independent inquiry.

On 11th of November, a separate meeting was held at Johor Bahru, Labour Department with JCY management to discuss the repatriation process and unpaid salary for the 55 workers who were arrested. MTUC’s Johor division officers have reported that the representative of JCY had informed them that he has high contact in the Home Ministry, and proved it by showing off his telephone contact in his mobile phone. Doesn’t this indicate the biasness in the investigation?

MTUC was also informed that 5 out of 55 workers of JCY have been wrongfully charged under Sec 6(3) of the Immigration Act for entry into the country without proper documents, as all of them have valid work permits with JCY. They were schedule to return to their homeland after the clearance made at Immigration Department. Unfortunately during the police raid this group of workers were picked up. At the time of arrest, these workers were documented but during the process of investigation their work permit expired. As such, they were charged under the Immigration offences. 

MTUC have engaged the assistances of the Johor Bar Council to represent these workers. Nevertheless we are deeply concern with the bureaucracy that is taking in amending the charge at the expense of these workers who are being detained since 9th September 2014. These workers have not taken part in the Industrial Action as they were schedule to return home after completing their contract with JCY.

MTUC is very concern with the continuous lack of political will by the Government in addressing the issues and concerns of Migrant workers. Home Ministry should not shoot their month without consulting all stakeholders especially when workers’ rights are adversely affected. Internationally, Malaysia has been continuously criticized for force labour practices especially as highlighted in the recent Verite’ report on Electronic Industries. The Government should no longer ignore this report. 

MTUC urges the Human Resource Ministry to step in and take proactive measure in addressing these concerns. MTUC urges Human Resource Ministry not to delay any longer our call for a Tripartite Meeting to discuss JCY’s case.

Thank You.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress,
N. Gopal Kishnam,
Secretary General.

Source: Malaysian Trade Union Congress website

See also (for backgroud) :- 

JCY worker-Employer Dispute? JCY did no wrong? Do we need an independent investigation?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Outsourcing companies no more employers - but only facilitates entry and exit

The answer to the Parliamentary Question to the Home Minister states that 'outsourcing companies' shall no more be the employers of migrant workers, and they will only assist in facilitating the entry and exit of workers {Will try to translate the whole question and answer later)
NO . SOALAN : 18

PERTANYAAN    :               JAWAB LISAN
DARIPADA         :               TUAN HEE LOY SIAN [ PETALING JAYA ]
TARIKH              :               14 OKTOBER 2014

SOALAN               :
Tuan Hee Loy Sian [ Petaling Jaya ] minta MENTERI DALAM NEGERI menyatakan kaedah kemasukan pekerja asing secara sah, selepas Kementerian mengharamkan kemasukan mereka melalui agensi dan apakah fungsi agen pekerja asing sekarang dalam kemasukan pekerja asing ke negara ini.

JAWAPAN           :
Tuan Yang di-Pertua,

Pada masa ini , Kerajaan hanya membenarkan pengambilan pekerja asing diaksanakan secara terus oleh majikan berdasarkan keputusan Kerajaan dalam Mesyuarat Jawatankuasa Kabinet Mengenai Pekerja Asing dan Pendatang Asing Tanpa Izin  (JKKPA-PATI) Kali Ke-3 Bil.2/2010 pada 20 Mei 2010 yang bersetuju supaya pengurusan Syarikat Membekal dan Mengurus Pekerja Asing (syarikat outsourcing) diuruskan di bawah Akta Agensi Pekerjaan Swasta 1981 (AAPS 1981 ).Kerajaaan juga memutuskan bahawa syarikat outsourcing bukan lagi sebagai majikan tetapi hanya menguruskan kemasukan dan penghantaran pulang pekerja asing.

Kaedah kemasukan yang ditetapkan oleh Kerajaan adalah seperti berikut:

(i)   Majikan perlu mendapatkan Sijil JobMalaysia (JCS) daripada Jabatan Tenaga Kerja Semenanjung Malaysia (JTKSM), sebagai sokongan kepada majikan yang memohon pekerja asing bagi memastikan bahawa kekosongan jawatan tersebut telah diiklankan dan tidak dapat diisi oleh rakyat tempatan;

(ii)  Majikan kemudiannya perlu hadir secara walk-in ke OSC,KDN untuk sesi temuduga dan kelulusan akan diberikan pada hari yang sama dengan mengemukakan permohonan pengambilan pekerja asing yang lengkap di OSC, KDN.Agensi Kawal Selia (AKS) sektor berkenaan akan menjalankan temuduga dengan majikan untuk meneliti permohonan tersebut .Kelulusan pengambilan pekerja asing juga adalah berdasarkan keperluan sebenar majikan dan berdasarkan syarat dan nisbah kelayakan yang ditetapkan oleh Agensi Kawal Selia masing-masing;

(iii)  Majikan  yang telah mendapat kelulusan  dikehendaki untuk membuat bayaran levi tahun pertama di Bahagian Pengurusan Pekerja Asing , Kementerian Dalam Negeri ;dan

(iv)   Majikan seterusnya dikehendaki berurusan secara terus dengan Jabatan Imigresen Malaysia bagi mendapatkan Surat Kelulusan Visa DEngan Rujukan  (VDR) dan Pas Lawatan Kerja Sementara (PLKS).
Sehubungan ini juga, pada masa ini syarikat outsourcing yang dilntik oleh Kementerian Dalam Negeri hanya dibenarkan untuk membekal dan menguruskan pekerja asing yang telah diluluskan sebelum ini.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bangladesh Believes In Malaysia's Way Of Solving Issues Of Foreign Workers (Bernama)

Well, there are many sending countries - and Malaysia can decide to stop accepting migrants from any country - and maybe this is the reason for Bangladesh taking this position.

Or maybe, Bangladesh is not taking about access for justice for migrant workers, worker rights, etc..


Bangladesh Believes In Malaysia's Way Of Solving Issues Of Foreign Workers

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 9 (Bernama) -- The Bangladeshi government believes in Malaysia's way of solving issues of foreign workers, especially from Bangladesh, Dewan Negara president Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang said.

So much so, he said Bangladesh would not question the decisions made by Malaysia concerning the Bangladeshi workers in the country, including action taken on those who violated the law.

"They know what happened here and the treatment given by our country. If there are baseless and untrue allegations, the Bangladesh High Commissioner here will personally counter the allegations."

Abu Zahar said this to Bernama after receiving a courtesy call from Bangladesh High Commissioner in Malaysia AKM Atiqur Rahman at his office in the Parliament Building here today.

Abu Zahar said Bangladesh had always respected the good bilateral ties that had existed between the two countries as they had learnt a lot from Malaysia, especially about the concept of Pilgrims Fund (Tabung Haji).

"Last year, they even sent several of their officers here to learn about the concept before implementing it in Bangladesh," he said.

During their meeting which lasted 45 minutes, Abu Zahar said he and Atiqur Rahman also discussed other issues concerning the two countries.

Atiqur Rahman has been the Bangladesh High Commissioner in Malaysia for over five years.


Thursday, September 4, 2014

5.8 million migrant workers of which 2.9 million documented in Malaysia

Finally, the Minister has acknowledged that there are 5.8 million migrant workers in Malaysia, but I believe that it is much more..

Malaysia now has 2.9 million documented migrant workers...

Is it a question that Malaysian workers are choosy or is it a question that employers in Malaysia are choosy...

Malaysian Workers Should Not Be Choosy Over Jobs - Riot

2 September 2014 

PUTRAJAYA, Sept 2 (Bernama) – Malaysian workers need to their attitude by not be choosy over jobs or just want to work in the public sector.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said Malaysia has so many jobs in various sectors, but mostly are filled by foreign workers.

Malaysians should seize job opportunities provided by the 600,000 small and medium enterprises (SME), he told a press conference after a briefing on Human Capital Development Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRI), here today.

Riot said the dumping of foreign workers in Malaysia is worrying as they are some 5.8 million of whom only 2.9 million are legal workers.

The public are invited to attend Fiesta Kerjaya JobsMalaysia and Azam Kerja 1Malaysia 2014 at Mid Valley Exhibition Centre from Sept 5 to 7 to seize the 10,000 job vacancies in various sectors.

Among the activities held are open interviews, career fairs, career guidance talks, registration with JobsMalaysia Online and the Public Service Commission

Earlier, Riot said Human Capital Development Strategic Reform Initiatives (SRI) has in four years, enhanced the nation’s workforce and supported the needs of the Economic Transformation Programme’s (ETP) 12 National Key Economic Areas.

SRI is focused on modernising labour legislation, upskilling and upgrading the workforce, strengthening human resource management for SME’s, leveraging women’s talent and undertaking labour market analysis. — BERNAMA
Source: Bernama
Source: MTUC Website

Lambakan 5.8 Juta Pekerja Asing Membimbangkan - Riot

2 September 2014 
PUTRAJAYA, 2 Sept (Bernama) — Menteri Sumber Manusia Datuk Seri Richard Riot hari ini menarik perhatian terhadap lambakan pekerja asing dalam negara ketika ini iaitu kira-kira 5.8 juta orang.

Katanya, hanya separuh dari jumlah itu, atau kira-kira 2.9 juta adalah pekerja sah, dan ini merupakan situasi yang agak merisaukan.

Beliau bercakap pada sidang akhbar selepas taklimat mengenai Human Capital Development Strategic Reform Initiatives di sini hari ini.

Sehubungan dengan itu, beliau menggesa rakyat di negara ini agar mengikis sikap memilih pekerjaan atau hanya mahu bekerja di sektor awam.

Riot berkata Malaysia menyediakan begitu banyak peluang pekerjaan dalam pelbagai sektor, namun adalah menyedihkan kebanyakannya diisi oleh pekerja asing.

Beliau berkata bekerja di kira-kira 600,000 syarikat Industri Kecil dan Sederhana merupakan antara peluang kerjaya yang boleh dicuba rakyat tempatan.

Sementara itu, beliau menyeru orang ramai menghadiri Fiesta Kerjaya JobsMalaysia Dan Azam Kerja 1Malaysia 2014 Peringkat Kebangsaan di Mid Valley Exhibition Centre mulai 5 hingga 7 Sept untuk merebut 10,000 kekosongan jawatan pelbagai sektor.

Antara aktiviti di majlis itu ialah temuduga terbuka, pameran kerjaya, ceramah bimbingan kerjaya dan pendaftaran Online JobsMalaysia dan Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Awam. – BERNAMA
Sumber: Bernama

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

About 500 Indonesian Migrant Workers Depart to Malaysia per day?

There can be an average of 500 Indonesians coming to Malaysia to work daily from just one exit port ... and this would more likely people coming over on tourist visas who really is coming over to work here in Malaysia 

I would propose that Malaysia should maybe change its procedures for migrant workers coming to Malaysia to work - maybe, it best to now cause employers who employ migrant workers to register their migrant worker, just as they do any other local worker... This may be a BETTER and more just way of doing things..

Undocumented migrants foiled in attempts to depart for Malaysia 

The Agency for the Placement and Protection of Indonesian Migrant Workers (BNP2TKI) has foiled the attempts of 669 migrant workers from departing to Malaysia without the proper documentation.

The workers were attempting to depart from Batam and Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands.

Speaking to The Jakarta Post in Batam on Saturday, BNP2TKI head Gatot Abdullah Mansyur said that together with the Immigration Office, his agency had screened Indonesians leaving for Malaysia from the Batam international ferry terminal for four days starting from Aug. 27.

Gatot said if they found indications that a person was to work in Malaysia without the required documents, such as a job order and a temporary residence permit, the person would be prevented from traveling.

“According to the regulations, we cannot ban citizens from going to Malaysia. Yet, we know whether they are going for an ordinary visit or for work. We arrest those who are going there for work [without the required documents],” he said.

He said the 669 workers arrested hailed from across Indonesia.

He added that they made Batam and Tanjung Pinang their points of departure.

“The biggest challenge we face in preventing illegal migrant workers from going to Malaysia is the fact they do not need a visa to go there,” he said, adding that the measure was conducted to make illegal workers complete their documents properly before leaving.

According to Gatot, the visa-free policy has been a concern for the State Palace and the Foreign Ministry, which are attempting to review the policy to prevent undocumented migrants from going to Malaysia.

“The upcoming ASEAN Community that will implement borderless, united currency principles, will see an increase in the migration of illegal workers,” Gatot said.

Things became more complex, he said, as in many cases illegal workers were sent from Malaysia to work in the Middle East.

Batam Center Immigration Office head Irwanto Suhaili, said departures to Malaysia through the ferry terminal that served the Stulang Laut, Johor Bahru, route were high, with ferries departing every hour.

“An average of 500 Indonesians depart to Johor every day, mostly for work in Malaysia, Irwanto said.

Batam international ferry terminal is well known as a departure point for undocumented Indonesian migrants heading to Malaysia, both individually and through labor recruitment agencies (PJTKI).

Illegal workers can reportedly even buy one-way tickets on board the ferry. They usually board after all legal passengers. They also pay less money than legal passengers.

The situation has reportedly been allowed to develop by staff accepting illegal levies from undocumented passengers.

“So far we have found no staff involved in such a practice. If we find them, we will report them to their superiors in Jakarta,” Gatot said.

Based on the Post’s observations at Stulang Laut Port, Johor Bahru, Indonesian undocumented migrants are also being financially exploited by staff, who seek to increase illegal levies for undocumented migrants at every opportunity.

In many cases, the staff even check the workers’ cell phones to see if there are porn videos on the phones.

In the event they find such videos, they demand that the workers pay 100 Malaysian Ringgit. - Jakarta Post, 1/9/2014. Undocumented migrants foiled in attempts to depart for Malaysia

Saturday, August 30, 2014

'threw stone at private parts' of worker - If true, take action against any employer/staff/person that torture workers?

What is happening in Kulai is related to what happened in the Tebrau factory, which now allegedly  is a JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of JCY International Bhd. This belief on the name of the factory involved comes from media reports. 

{Now, is JCY the employer? We are not sure....because today many factory owner-operators try to avoid employment relationships with the workers who work in the factory - one way is to get workers from 3rd parties(known as contractors for labour) who supply the factory with workers who will be considered employees of the supplying third party - not the employees of the factory. A move to avoid unionization and collective agreements. A way to avoid responsibility and obligations for the promotion and protection of worker rights, avoid responsibility for violations, etc ... There are other methods also used to avoid responsibility to workers...That is why we need to campaign for DIRECT EMPLOYMENT RELATIONSHIP with all the workers that work at your factory...}

The protests and action by workers allegedly started with the death of a Nepali migrant workers, which the workers say the employers were allegedly negligent in not sending the deceased worker for medical treatment. Interestingly, a similar issue happened in 2010, and after worker protest, the situation was resolved vide an agreement by JCY... it was considered a 'Good Practice'....but 

The foreigners had, on Sunday, protested against the management of a factory, following the death of a Nepali worker.

On Monday, they demanded higher wages from the management and a mini-clinic to be built in the compound.- Star, 16/8/2010, Foreign workers run riot at factory enclave
Press Release - 17/8/2010

In  response  to the  recent  foreign  workers  issues  at  JCY HDD  Technology  Sdn.  Bhd.’s sub-contractor  hostels  at  Kawasan  Perindustrian  Tebrau  IV,  Johor  Bahru,  both  the company and the  foreign worker representatives  have  met  this afternoon and the  issues had been resolved amicably with the workers returning to work immediately.

Among  the  key  issues  highlighted  by  the  foreign  workers,  the management  had  in conjunction  with  the  sub-contactor  for  the  hostel,  shall  take  remedial  actions  as summarized below:

1.  Company  will  provide  a  vehicle  and  driver  on  24  hour  standby  at  the  main hostel to facilitate the emergency transportation of worker to hospital for any emergency treatments.
2.  The  company  had  agreed  to  revise  and  standardize  the  pay  structure  of  the workers.
3.  The  criteria  for  the  deduction  of  salary  in  relations  to  worker  coming  to factory late shall be revised and improved.
4.  On  top  of  the  normal  workmen  compensation  benefits,  the  company  had agreed to improve the contribution to the beneficiary of the worker. 

The  management  of  the  company  stressed  that  JCY  had  always  aim  to  provide  a conducive environment for the workers to work and stay. The company will continue to work closely with the hostel’s sub-contractor to take care of the workers welfare and JCY truly  valued  the  contribution  made  by  the  workers  and  staffs  to  the  success  of  the company. - JCY International Website

The question arises whether JCY is still complying with the agreement for once again there is a death of a worker and allegations of failure on the part of the factory .See -1500 Migrant Workers Strike for 36 Hours Following Death of Migrant Worker

Allegedly, some 20 factory workers involved in the earlier protest in Tebrau were transferred to to the Kulai factory - and there have been allegations of torture -   

A manager had allegedly forced a group of foreign workers to play "volleyball with stones" and those who refused were beaten with a stick.... the company abused the workers, mostly Nepalese, on daily basis and they could not take it anymore. "When we make mistakes, they hit us and this is just unfair."In fact, due to an earlier disagreement, the management even refused to send us our usual bus and we were forced to walk for about 1 hour to get to work... - - Malaysiakini, 26/8/2014, Workers torch car in 'stone volleyball' riot
Now, my hope is that the authorities do not just take criminal and other actions on these workers - but will investigate the ROOT CAUSE - which from the media reports point the finger to the employer, management, supervisor, third part contractors, etc...

It would also be best that  JCY International immediately steps in and resolve this issue as was done in 2010 - for at the end of the day, this really is a labour issue. 

Now, when a large group of workers/people are protesting and claiming rights, there is likely to be some 'bad apples' that may go overboard, and as such the workers in general should not be blamed for the acts of a few. Were the ones who did the 'violence' workers? Were they some 'agent provocateur', some outside trouble maker, some employer's agent, some....?

The police, if they are going to take action, must focus their action on the identified few who damaged the car, committed arson, etc - and not take this opportunity to target worker leaders and the workers generally. Likewise, action should also be taken against management, staff or the employer for the 'torture'. We have heard of workers being arrested, but no employer's representatives - why is that?
the violence was sparked when the workers were made to play volleyball using a rock as the ball. Mohanadas [Malaysian Trade Union Congress Johor secretary K Mohanadas] said that workers told him this was punishment for some 20 workers transferred from Tebrau to Kulaijaya."The workers also say that the supervisor threw a stone at one of their private parts, sparking the violence,” he said. -- Malaysiakini, 27/8/2014,Factory torched as Kulai riot escalates

If  you ' threw a stone at one of their private parts' , I am sure that most people will react. Has the supervisor who allegedly threw the stone at the private parts of the worker been investigated or arrested? Has the manager or the staff who initiated the torture been arrested?

Factory torched as Kulai riot escalates

Violence at a Kulai factory escalated last night with a portion of the factory was torched, after discussions between worker and factory management fell through.

According to police, 44 workers, mostly of Nepalese origin were detained following two incidents of rioting, the first of which occurred at 10am resulting in a torched car.

Workers allegedly set ablaze the factory store and damaged three other buildings owned by the public-listed electronics company JCY International Bhd by throwing stones at the buildings at about 8pm.

The fire was put out by the fire department at 10.05 pm. No injuries were reported.

According to Kulaijaya Deputy District Police Chief DSP Mohd Idris Samsuri, among the rioters, 13 were arrested last night while the rest were arrested after the earlier incident.

They were arrested under Section 148 of the Penal Code, which deals with possession of missiles at a riot.

“Currently the workers are being remanded and actions to be taken are being discussed with the (Nepalese) embassy.”

Mohd Idris said the police have also arranged a meeting between representative of the detained workers and the company management, with embassy personnel present to act as mediator and translator.

He said that the second rioting incident sparked at about 4pm when a meeting between workers and management “went out of hand”

He said that the management had only agreed to give workers a day off from work, and not accede to other demands.

'Beaten if mistakes made at work'

According to Malaysian Trade Union Congress Johor secretary K Mohanadas, the workers had complained of lack of access to medical services and poor living and work conditions.

“The workers were dissatisfied as the highlighted grievances were not addressed.

“These include failure to get medical attention, resulting in death in the Tebrau factory (belonging to the same company), poor living conditions, no overtime and alleged beating if they make mistakes at work.

“The hostel condition is really bad with up to 35 people in a shophouse,”
he said when contacted.

Yesterday, Malaysiakini reported that the violence was sparked when the workers were made to play volleyball using a rock as the ball.

Mohanadas said that workers told him this was punishment for some 20 workers transferred from Tebrau to Kulaijaya.

"The workers also say that the supervisor threw a stone at one of their private parts, sparking the violence,” he said.

Asked of claims of abuse, police chief Mohd Idris said that he has no information on this and directed Malaysiakini to the company.

When contacted, the company said it is closed for the day and cannot entertain media queries.

It, however, acknowleged the "unrest" in a filing with Bursa Malaysia.

Mohanadas said the company also told MTUC that it is too busy to speak to union representatives today.

He added that MTUC has also informed the Bar Council, who is sending a team of lawyers to assist the workers.

KAMLES KUMAR is a trainee journalist with Malaysiakini.- Malaysiakini, 27/8/2014,Factory torched as Kulai riot escalates

Updated: Wednesday August 27, 2014 MYT 9:26:40 AM

Striking workers in Kulaijaya torch factory building

JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building burning.
JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building burning.
KULAIJAYA: Some 800 workers of a factory here set fire to the building Tuesday night after they had stoned their employers office and burned down a car earlier in the day.

The workers, mostly from Nepal, set the electronics manufacturing plant in the Kelapa Sawit Industrial Area on fire around 8pm.

The Fire and Rescue Department arrived at the scene to control the fire at 8.38pm after receiving a distress call some 13 minutes before that.

The department managed to put out the fire at around 10.05pm.

JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building burning

This was following a strike staged by the workers due to alleged mistreatment by their employers.

It was reported that they started gathering outside the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building from 8am on Tuesday and things got out of hand when some of them began to hurl stones and other objects at the management office and set fire to one of the employers’ cars.

The angry crowd also damaged three other blocks owned by the company.

Just last Thursday at the company’s branch at the Tebrau IV Industrial Area, near Johor Baru, some 1,500 workers also showed their dissatisfaction over the company’s alleged negligence in handling the health issue of a worker, leading to his death.

They threw pieces of metal and glass, electronic items, chairs and boots from their four-storey hostel, smashing the glass windows of a guard post.- Star, 27/8/2014, Striking workers in Kulaijaya torch factory building

...Meanwhile, 42 Nepalese workers were arrested following a riot by more than 800 workers at an electronics manufacturing factory in the Kelapa Sawit industrial area in Kulaijaya.

Kulaijaya deputy OCPD Deputy Supt Mohad Idris Samsuri said the workers were picked up after they set fire to the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd's building along Jalan Gangsa around 8pm on Tuesday.

He said some 1,000 foreign workers had assembled at the area in the morning. While some dispersed when police arrived, the others remained to take part in the riot until evening.

The riot came in the wake of an incident at another JCY branch at the Tebrau IV industrial area near Johor Baru last Thursday.

There, some 1,500 workers, apparently unhappy over the company's handling of a worker's welfare, threw pieces of metal and other items from their four-storey hostel, besides overturning a parked van.

"Some 60 per cent of those who gathered there were Nepalese nationals and 42 were arrested because they refused to disperse. Instead, they turned violent," said DSP Mohd Idris on the Kulaijaya riot.

Plant general manager, who wanted to be known as Liaw, confirmed that the plant was not operating yesterday due to Tuesday's incident.

A statement released by JCY Inter­national Bhd yesterday said JCY HDD Technology, its wholly owned subsidiary, would be temporarily shut.

It added that the company was taking measures to reach an amicable settlement with the workers. - AsiaOne Malaysia, 28//8/2014, Unpaid workers burn eatery in Malaysia

Published: Wednesday August 27, 2014 MYT 1:56:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday August 27, 2014 MYT 1:58:14 PM

JCY assessing impact of worker unrest, fire at Johor plant

KUALA LUMPUR: Hard disk drive manufacturer JCY International Bhd is assessing the impact of the worker unrest and fire at one of its factories in Kulaijaya, Johor.

It said on Wednesday the incident at its unit JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd the previous day had caused a temporary shutdown of the factory's operation at that location.

"However, there were no major damages to the factories and properties of the company and its subsidiaries," it said in a statement to Bursa Malaysia. 

JCY said the damages to the factories and properties did not pose any material impact on the financial performance and financial position of the group for the financial year ending Sept 30, 2014.

"There are no disruptions to all other operations of the group located outside Kulaijaya District," it added.

JCY said the company was "taking active steps and measures" to address the matter and to reach an amicable settlement with the workers. - Star, 27/8/2014, JCY assessing impact of worker unrest, fire at Johor plant

Malaysian Police Detain 42 Foreigners After Rioting At Export Unit In Johor

on August 27 2014 7:24 AM
Malaysian police
Malaysian police arrested foreigners riot factory, workers mostly Nepalese riot export factory Malaysia, riot factory Johor state JCY International, Malaysian police arrested foreigners riot factory JCY International Reuters 

Malaysian police arrested 42 foreigners after nearly 1,000 workers rioted at an electronics goods factory Tuesday. The workers, mostly Nepalese nationals, were protesting poor working conditions, an endemic issue at plants employing foreign workers in the Southeast Asian country.

The rioting sparked fires and destroyed components inside the factory, which is located in the southern industrial hub of Johor state. The factory was run by JCY International, a Malaysian company that manufactures parts for electronics giants such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd (KRX:005935), Hitachi Ltd (TYO:6501) and Western Digital Corp (NASDAQ:WDC).

The workers in the factory had accused JCY of neglecting working conditions at the facility following the death of an employee last week after complaining of chest pain, Reuters reported, citing local news reports.

The Johor factory reportedly suspended operations on Wednesday.

“This was caused by a misunderstanding between the employer and employees over the terms of their work,” Mohad Idris Samsuri, the district's deputy police chief, told Reuters, adding that the arrested men would be charged under the country's anti-rioting law.

Meanwhile, JCY issued a statement to investors, saying that the conflict would not impact the company’s business.

“The company is currently taking active steps and measures to address the above matter and to reach an amicable settlement with the workers,” JCY reportedly said in the statement.- International Business Times, 27/8/2014

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police have arrested 44 men after a riot by up to 1,000 mostly Nepalese workers sparked fires and destroyed parts of an electronics export factory, highlighting accusations of poor conditions for many of the estimated four million foreign workers in the South-east Asian country.

The riot broke out in Johor on Tuesday at a factory run by JCY International, a Malaysian company that makes parts for electronic giants including Samsung, Hitachi and Western Digital. During the incident, the workers also stoned the office section of the factory and burned a car.

Workers had accused the company of negligence following the death last Thursday of an employee at a nearby JCY factory who had complained of chest pains, according to local news reports.

The unrest spilled over to the company's other factory in Kulaijaya, police said, culminating in a stand-off between riot police and protesters - Straits Times, 28/8/2014 - See more at:

Monday, August 25, 2014

1500 migrant workers protest death of worker

A worker died - and 1,500 fellow workers protested - they refused to work - well, it is a 'strike'.... 

the workers started the strike to show their dissatisfaction with the factory’s alleged negligence in handling the health issue of a worker who died of chest problems that day.

Well, the Star report calls it a 'riot' - but really, when a fellow worker dies because the workers believe that it was the employer's fault or negligence, would not expect some anger and 'outbursts'? We all remember the video footages of the families of the victims in flight MH370... 

These workers reacted because of what happened to a fellow worker - and they are also concerned about the wellbeing of the deceased worker's family...

“The workers were just concerned that the company would not pay out the remaining two years’ salary of their deceased countryman as per his contract. We assured them that the company will pay the salary of any foreigners who works with our company under a three-year contract – even if he were to pass away during that period,

I believe that this demand is reasonable and a good employer would be willing to do this..

I hope that Star will follow-up with a report that tell us more - and whether the employer does good.... will the employer arrange for the body to be returned back to the family in Nepal..? What really happened that made the workers so angry...When did the factory become aware of the victims illness/medical condition? Did they immediately arrange for the worker to be sent to the hospital?  

Note also that the Star report did not reveal the name of the company...why did they do this? Protecting the employer? What was the name and age of the victim? What was the agreement reached that the workers decided to go back to work after 36 hours? 

Factories must really have some 'health personnel' at their factories, especially those that have more than 1,000 workers - someone who can provide first aid and healthcare. They must also have an ambulance or at least some transport that can speedily send sick or injured workers to the hospital... This, is not the first case, where workers(migrant workers) died because of delay of sending a sick worker to hospital. Hopefully, this employer would do what JCY HDD Technology Sdn. Bhd (follow the link below), which amongst others was   

"Company will provide a vehicle and driver on 24 hour standby at the main hostel to facilitate the emergency transportation of worker to hospital for any emergency treatments......On top of the normal workmen compensation benefits, the company had agreed to improve the contribution to the beneficiary of the worker.

Star must also be praised because sadly many media outlets just do not bother about worker issues... 

See also related posts:-

Will the AG charge the employer for the death of the Nepali worker in Pokok Sena, Kedah? Will there be an autopsy to determine cause of death? 

Remembering the JCY's 5,000 Workers Protest 2010 - maybe the biggest workers' protest in Malaysia for many years

Nepali workers riot over colleague’s death

Demonstrating concern: Workers holding up a sign stating their terms during a strike at their quarters.
Demonstrating concern: Workers holding up a sign stating their terms during a strike at their quarters.

JOHOR BARU: Some 1,500 Nepalese have refused to go to work for more than 36 hours at a mechanical component manufacturing plant and even flung things out of their living quarters in protest following the death of a colleague.

They threw out pieces of metal and glass, electronic products, chairs and boots from their four-storey hostel, smashing the glass windows of the guard’s post, while some turned a parked van to its side.

The drama started to unfold on Thursday evening at the hostel which is located a stone’s throw away from the plant in Jalan Firma 3 at the Tebrau IV industrial area here.

According to sources, the workers started the strike to show their dissatisfaction with the factory’s alleged negligence in handling the health issue of a worker who died of chest problems that day.

The factory’s management went to the living quarters yesterday and spoke to the workers to find out their concerns. Its executive director Datuk Tan Shih Leng denied that they had neglected the deceased’s initial complaints of chest pains. He said the management had given him medical leave earlier to recover before he died at the hospital.

“The workers were just concerned that the company would not pay out the remaining two years’ salary of their deceased countryman as per his contract. We assured them that the company will pay the salary of any foreigners who works with our company under a three-year contract – even if he were to pass away during that period,” he said.

According to him, factory workers who passed away after exceeding the three-year contract period would get a RM10,000 compensation on top of insurance claims.

Tan said that the workers had agreed to go back to work during the factory’s 7pm shift on Friday. - Star, 24/8/2014,Nepali workers riot over colleague’s death

Saturday, June 28, 2014

2.6 million documented migrant workers in Malaysia (24/10/2013)

Published: Thursday October 24, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday October 24, 2013 MYT 6:45:58 AM

Parliament: 2.6 million registered foreign workers

THERE are some 2.6 million registered foreign workers in the country who hold a valid pass from the Immigration Department, says Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar.

However, he said the actual number of illegal immigrants in the country could not be ascertained at this time as most of them had registered under the 6P Bersepadu legalisation programme implemented earlier.

The Government, said Wan Junaidi, had also carried out 331 operations on businesses from January to September this year and as a result, 15 employers were arrested.

“A total of 9,630 illegal immigrants were deported to their respective countries.

“The ministry has registered over 1.3 million illegal immigrants under the 6P Bersepadu programme to weed out illegal immigrants,” he told Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah (BN-Lenggong).

Shamsul Anuar had asked the ministry to state the number of illegal immigrants in the country and the estimated number of illegals who could not be traced as well as the solution to manage them.

Wan Junaidi also said the authorities were concerned over the high number of illegal immigrants in Sabah, adding that various steps were being taken under the 6P operations to tackle the problem in the state.

“So far, 99 operations have been carried out in Sabah as of Sept 1, in which 1,821 foreigners were vetted and 532 arrested under the Immigration Act,” he added.

On the plan to use the newly introduced I-Kad for foreign workers, Wan Junaidi said it would be divided into eight sectors with specific colours to identify the workers in their field.

“However, a higher cost will be incurred for advanced features on the card, which can identify and locate the foreign workers,” he said, adding that the cost had not yet been determined by the Cabinet.

He said the reason for the high number of foreign workers in the country was due to locals who did not want to fill job opportunities in certain sectors.- The Star, 24/10/2013, Parliament: 2.6 million registered foreign workers

Monday, June 2, 2014

Joint Statement(47):‘Worker And Trade Union Rights Must Be Prioritized For The Wellbeing Of The Worker And Their Families ‘

Joint Statement– 2/6/2014


We, the undersigned 47 civil society organizations, trade unions and concerned groups, make the following demands to better protect worker and trade union rights in Malaysia. It is sad when a government places the interest of businesses, investors and employers over the rights and welfare of workers and their families.


The right to permanent regular employment until retirement age is essential for the economic wellbeing and financial stability of the worker and their families. 

A short-term or fixed term employment contract is a form of precarious employment that must be abolished. It allows for the denial of the right of retirement at 60, maternity rights and benefits, increments of rights which comes with tenure, makes it near impossible for such workers to form, join or even serve as leaders in existing unions. Such short-term employment contracts, usually a year or less, with no right of extension even if the work still exist, weakens worker capacity to struggle for better worker rights, and certainly weakens unions or makes unionization impossible.  

We call for guarantee of the right to regular employment until retirement, and the abolition of short-term employment contracts and similar precarious employment practices.


Direct employment relationship with the owner/operator of the workplace known as the principal, is essential to ensure stable employment, noting that employers do have the obligation to ensure worker rights and welfare are best protected. A contractor for labour (COL) should never be employers, and their role, if any, is to supply workers to owner/operators of workplace or alternatively find workers work with employers who need workers, and for the service rendered they should be paid a fee. 

It is the owner/operator of workplaces, known as the principal, who should be having direct employment relationship with workers that work at their workplaces. This demand, amongst others, had been made vide the joint statement by 93 groups dated 3/5/2012 entitled, ‘Abolish the ‘Contractor for Labour’ system - Withdraw the 2012 amendments to Employment Act 1955’, and also vide the earlier statement by 115 groups on 28/10/2011 entitled,‘Malaysia Must Protect Worker and Union Rights, and withdraw proposed unjust amendments to Employment Act - Labour Suppliers Should Not Be Employers’. We also draw attention to the Malaysian Bar Resolution of 2012 expressing the same sentiment, which amongst others said ‘The Malaysian Bar takes the stand that labour suppliers and/or contractors of labour should never be or continue to be employers of workers after they are supplied, accepted and start working at the workplaces of principals or owners. Thereafter, these workers shall be employees of the principal or owners of the workplace.’ We also recall the MTUC initiated pickets and protests against the ‘contractor for labour system’.


To avoid trade unions and employer relationship, some employers are outsourcing parts of the work to third party contractors who then use their own employees to do the work. This happened in the plantation sector, and National Union of Plantation Workers(NUPW), which once was a strong union with many members, is today so much weakened even though the number of workers in the plantation sector has remained the same or even increased. Another example, is what happened to the banking sector when certain aspects of the banking industry work like phone and internet banking was outsourced to third parties. Outsourcing of work is yet another ‘union busting’ strategy, that weakens trade unions, and deprives union members of the benefits of existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Another method, is to break up one company into different smaller companies, something that Tenaga Nasional Berhad(TNB) is now considering. This has been strongly opposed by the 4 existing unions representing the many workers in TNB. The break-up action would result in weakening of existing strong unions, and possibly deprivation of existing members of benefits and rights they now enjoy through Collective Bargaining Agreements. When new companies are formed, workers who find themselves in these new entities would have to go through the long process of forming, then getting union recognition all over again, and entering into new CBA with their new employers, a process that can take years. We support the statement of the 4 Trade Unions of TNB workers, being Persatuan Eksekutif Tenaga Nasional Berhad (PETNB), Kesatuan Percantuman Pekerja-Pekerja TNB (KPPPTNB), Tenaga Nasional Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU) and Persatuan Unit Keselamatan TNB (PERUNIKA) dated 14/11/2013 opposing the proposal to break up TNB. 


When the president of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) issued a statement as Union President highlighting also some of the pending issues yet to be dealt by Malaysian Airlines (MAS), he was terminated by reason of issuing a statement as an employee. 53 organisations issued a statement on 3/3/2014 entitled, ‘Malaysian Airlines Must Respect Trade Union and Worker Rights -Cease Anti-Union activities against NUFAM and its members’, and we also refer to the earlier statement by 43 groups on 3/12/2013, entitled, ‘MAS Must Immediately Revoke Suspension of Union President Ismail Nasaruddin Worker Right Issue Should Be Resolved By Negotiations Not ‘Union Busting’. 

Likewise, 18 workers were terminated by DRB HICOM for handing over a Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) memorandum to candidates contesting in the last General Election, where the object of MTUC was to get commitment from incoming parliamentarians with regard to worker rights. We reiterate the statement by 51 groups issued on 25/6/2013 entitled, “DRB HICOM Must Respect The Citizens’ Right To Participate In The Democratic Process In Malaysia– Stop disciplinary action against workers for exercising their political rights.

Many other trade union leaders have been terminated for highlighting injustices affecting workers, amongst others Abdul  Jamil Lalaludeen and Chen KaFatt who were, respectively, the Vice-President and the Honorary Treasurer of the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE); Hata Wahari, the President of the National Union of Journalists; Ismail Nasaruddin, the President of NUFAM; and Wan Noorulazhar , the President of the Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region, Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUWR). We recall the Joint Statement by 87 groups dated 4/4/2013, ‘RENESAS Must Immediately Accord Recognition To The Union And Reinstate Wan Noorulazhar.’

We call for the end of termination, discrimination against and other forms of persecution against unionist and worker leaders, all of which could be rightly perceived as union busting by bad employers, which can be perceived as being condoned by Malaysian government.

We call for a repeal of the law that now allows employers to terminate of unionist by simply treating it as an employee misconduct. For example, NUFAM’s president was terminated because MAS said that the act of an employee issuing a media statement was a misconduct.


Ismail Nasarudin and 4 other from NUFAM were recently terminated without even a Domestic Inquiry. In the spirit of industrial harmony and justice, when an employer alleges a misconduct, natural justice demands that workers be accorded the right to be heard and right to defend against the allegation in front an independent panel. 

In the case of the 18, who have been terminated by DRB HICOM subsidiaries, they had a Domestic Inquiry but were denied the right to be represented by a representative of their National Union. They were only allowed to be represented by a worker from their own workplace.

Noting that the majority of workers are not even unionized, it is essential that in the interest of justice, all workers shall have the right to domestic inquiry, and this should be provided for in law. There must also be the right accorded to the affected worker to be represented by a lawyer, unionist or worker of their choice.


Employers have been arbitrarily increasing the number of misconducts, many of which are vague and some even undermine fundamental rights of workers, or their unions, including the right of workers to highlight injustices, fight for better rights or even make representations to the relevant authorities to complain about violation of rights. 

In the case of the DRB HICOM, one of the alleged misconduct was the‘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’. Now, how can this be a misconduct when it really is what workers and unions do – that is highlight and campaign for support and hence ‘exertion of pressure’, etc… on employers, which by the way is also the object of any worker pickets. It is absurd when this very right is made into misconduct. 51 Groups issued a statement on25/6/2013, ‘DRB HICOM Must Respect The Citizens’ Right To Participate In The Democratic Process In Malaysia– Stop disciplinary action against workers for exercising their political rights.’ Now, workers in MAS are facing disciplinary actions for bringing their grievances to the Ministry in Putrajaya. 

Worker misconduct should never attempt to diminish worker rights, freedom of expression, rights as citizens and other human rights.Like criminal offences, misconducts must be clearly stipulated including also the penalties that could be imposed by employer in the event the misconduct is proven or admitted. 

For the protection of workers, there must be laws that defining employment misconducts, limiting it to matters at the workplace or reasonably related, but never to prevent worker organizing, union building and union activities. Attempts of employers to control the personal life, freedoms and human rights of workers especially outside working hours should never be permitted.


When a worker is wrongfully dismissed, justice is sought by a worker seeking reinstatement by lodging a complaint which ultimately goes to the Industrial Court who decides whether it wasa wrongful dismissal or not. If wrongfully dismissed, the employer shouldjustly be ordered to reinstate the worker without loss of benefits.Alternatively, the worker should be able to claim compensation in lieu of reinstatement. 

In Malaysia, the choice between reinstatement and compensation is taken away from the worker, and placed in the courts which now generally do not order reinstatement. In 2007, a new Scheduled 2 was added to the Industrial Relations Act 1977, which unjustly now not just limits the quantum of compensation in lieu of reinstatement to not more than 24 months, and for probationers not more than 12 months but also provides further deductions. This, rather than deter employers from wrongfully dismissing workers now emboldens them to use ‘wrongful dismissal’ as a means to get rid of worker and/or union leaders. This anti-worker Schedule 2 must be repealed, and the choice of accepting reinstatement or compensation must be restored to the aggrieved worker.


More than 92% of workers in Malaysia are not unionized, and as such they do not have the mechanism of a Collective Bargaining Agreement, that may allow the recognition of basic worker rights now absent from labour legislations to be enjoyed. Probation is one such right, which reasonably for a regular employee, should never be more than three(3) months, being more than sufficient time for any employer to assess the suitability of a worker to be considered and confirmed as a permanent employee until retirement. 

Now, many employers abuse this gap in the law, and keep workers as probationers for very long periods sometimes even years, and this is because a worker on probation has far less worker rights compared to a confirmed regular employee. The law must now fix the maximum length of probation, and include a deeming provision that after three(3) months, an employee shall be deemed to be a confirmed employee. 


While time limits and consequences for failure to do something are there in the law for acts to be done by workers and their unions, there is absence of similar provisions when it comes to employers. The recognition of the trade union in the case of RENESAS took about 4 years. In this case, there were times that employer RENESAS failed to comply with explicit instructions by the Ministry or was delay complying with the law, and this was possible when the law provides no time limits or the consequence of an employer failing to do something – this allows employers to so easily delay and even ignore workers and trade union rights. 

Recognition of trade unions, a condition that needs to be satisfied in Malaysia before employers and trade unions are allowed to enter into Collective Bargaining Agreement, must be expedited and dealt with speedily, preferably taking no longer than three(3) months. The outcome of the ‘secret ballot’ must just be based just on the number of votes cast, whereas now it unjustly considers those who should have but did not manage to cast their votes as being votes against the union.

The right to Judicial Review is acknowledged, but when employers resort to using it to delay recognition of trade unions, it is essential that such proceedings in courts are proceeded with speedily to prevent denial and delaying worker and trade union rights. It is shameful how some employers are willing to do whatever to deny workers their rights, Malaysian Airlines(MAS), for example, is embarrassingly challenging the Minister’s decision to accord recognition of NUFAM after the secret ballot conducted clearly showed that 62.73% flight attendants in MAS wanted NUFAM as the union representing them.In the case of RENESAS, union recognition was delayed for a year or more by reason of Judicial Review and appeals initiated by the employer. As a matter of policy, such judicial review and appeals should be speedily disposed as delays affects worker rights, and these court actions should never be allowed to delay union recognition process, or the execution of Collective Bargaining Agreements. 


History shows that it is strikes and industrial actions that have been most effective means available to workers and their unions in resolving disputes with employers and claiming rights, but Malaysia has interfered with this option to the detriment of workers and unions, and have adopted a preference of dealing with trade disputes vide negotiation and arbitration, and as such this process must be done speedily, and workers and unionist must be effectively protected from termination and discrimination by employers, more so pending resolution of trade disputes or complaints.

The majority of the trade disputes are initiated by workers and unions, who many a time have to suffer termination, discrimination or violation of rights whilst employers continue their business operation as usual, and as such justice demands that trade disputes be resolved speedily, not longer than 30 days, and that any workers who have been terminated pursuant to the filing of or related to a trade dispute should continuously be paid normal wages until the said dispute is resolved. Employers should be barred from terminating workers or unionists who have lodged trade disputes and/or complaints until the matter is resolved.


Equal pay for equal work is just. It is wrong for migrant workers to be discriminated against with regards the right to minimum wages, as an example, where the government is suggesting the making of migrant workers to now pay levy, which was a payment imposed on employers to deter employers from employing migrant workers over local workers. 82 groups issued a statement on 8/2/2013, ‘Minimum Wages For All Workers, Including Migrant Workers - No to Wage Deduction to recover Levy Payable By Employers –‘


The law provide for worker rights, but many a time there are provisions that allow the Minister to provide exemption to certain employers. For example, the maximum 8 hour working day or 48 hours working week,can also be avoided if the employer gets an exemption. The exemptions are granted without the prior knowledge of, let alone being accorded the right to be heard to, the affected workers and/or their unions. There is the possibility to challenge the exemptions within a limited time frame, but workers, especially those without trade unions, just do not have the capacity to challenge such decisions. Justly, the right to be heard and contest application for exemption must be granted to the worker or their union, before the decision.In fact, employers should never be granted exemptions, that will deny workers their worker or trade union rights.


All workers in Malaysia are supposed to be receiving minimum wages as of 1 January 2014 but alas the quantum of minimum wages fixed in 2012 at RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia, and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak is no longer sufficient to ensure a decent livelihood for the worker and his family given the large increases in the cost of living. While for public sector workers get also Cost of Living Allowances(COLA), the majority of the workers are in the private sector do not get COLA. Using also the fact that the Malaysian government has declared that households earning less than RM3,000-00 are in need of financial assistance, it is only logical that minimum wages be increased for all workers to at least RM1,500

COLA should also be made a legal right for worker, especially for the lower income worker. Minimum wage rates should also be reviewed at least every 6 months, taking into account the speedily increasing cost of living and the monies required to ensure a decent livelihood for the worker and the family.


In this day and age when employment is precarious, there is a need for the government to put in place unemployment benefits to assist workers temporarily out of a job and their families. Even if out of job, and deprived of an income, regular payments for rental, basic amenities, car and house loans, children’s education, etc is required of the unemployed worker. Without financial assistance in the form of an unemployment benefit, the lives of the unemployed worker and their families will be seriously affected. This safety net for workers is something that is available in many countries, including also neighboring Thailand.


While our Federal Constitution guarantees equality, courts have found that the obligation not to discriminate workers based on gender is only on the government and statutory bodies – not on private sector employers. This goes against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) which Malaysia has ratified. The laws must be amended to ensure that all employers do not discriminate workers based on gender or any other forms of discrimination.


The Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) recorded 1,248 workplace accidents in 10 sectors in the first five months of 2013, which resulted in 68 worker deaths, 81 permanent disabilities and 1,099 injuries not resulting in permanent disabilities.

In 2010, a total of 1426 cases of occupational disease and poisoning have been reported to the Occupational Health Division as compared with 791 cases reported in the previous year, whereby only about half were successfully investigated. Amongst the diseases reported were noise induced hearing loss (NIHL), occupational skin diseases and occupational lung diseases. There is still a general low awareness about occupational diseases, more so when it becomes evident long after the worker has left the workplace – hence an under-reporting of occupational diseases occurs. For migrant workers who have returned to country of origin, there yet no effective mechanism of complaint or access to justice when it comes to occupational disease.

Malaysia must increase awareness of workers about occupational disease, and be committed to active enforcement to ensure occupational safety and health at the workplace. Hospitals and medical practitioners should also inform workers with diseases or medical conditions that could have been related to their workplace of this fact, and of where they can lodge complaints and access justice.

Noting that many employers also provide workers accommodation, there must be law stipulating the minimum standards of worker housing that would protect the health and safety of workers. Migrant workers who came into Malaysia with a clean bill of health have been subsequently sent back by reason of diseases like tuberculosis(TB) that could have most likely been contracted by reason of cramped worker housing or workplace, and as such the list of occupational disease need to be reviewed to include also diseases that could have been contracted by reason worker working or even poor worker housing conditions.


Noting that in Malaysia, most workers are ignorant of worker and trade union rights, a fact brought about also by reason that worker and trade union rights are not taught in schools or colleges, it is thus necessary that minimum worker rights are provided for and protected by law.The laws that provide for minimum worker rights should ensure that these rights are enjoyed by all workers, not just workers earning RM2,000 and below or just certain classes of workers. Domestic workers, like all other workers, should also have the right to enjoy all minimum worker rights provided for by law. 


Malaysia signs or will still sign Free Trade Agreements and other Treaties, like the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) without being open and transparent of the contents of the said agreements, and without consultation with the people. Some of these agreements, it is now known, contain clauses that will in effect not just erode but also stagnate worker rights. One such clause is the Investor Protection Clause, which protects investors allowing them to sue governments if the government does anything in the future which would mean employers having to expend more money, or do things that may affect the businesses profits. As such, if and when Malaysia in the future decides to improve matters like worker rights, worker safety, public health and environmental protection, requiring businesses to thus expend monies which will impact profits, Malaysia risk being sued and this may deter Malaysia from improving rights and working conditions of workers in Malaysia.

It must be noted that in no way is the above a comprehensive listing all demands or issues that affect worker and trade union rights, but it is a listing of some of the fundamental issues and calls that must be acted on, and not be allowed to swept aside with the lapse of time, control of the media and other means.

The obligation to recognize and protect worker and trade union rights is not just on the Malaysian government, but also on business, corporations, employers, countries from where persons who own or control businesses come from, countries from where the workers come from, consumers of products and services provided, other businesses that have a link with an employer by being within the supply chain or otherwise, and generally everyone in our global community. It is an unacceptable attitude to say it is alright to compromise on worker rights and standards as available in one’s country or even businesses, for so long as one complies with the Malaysian law.

Ruggie’s"Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework", is just but one of the standards and guidelines, that should be adopted and followed by both governments, businesses and employers. It is not just sufficient to ratify or sign United Nations(UN) or International LabourOrganisation(ILO) Conventions and Instruments but not do the needful to put into effect these commitments in Malaysia.

We call on the Malaysian government to immediately act to ensure that all the above demands are given effect to ensure justice for workers and trade unions in Malaysia. The rights and welfare of workers and their families must be a priority of any government, and this also include creating protection mechanisms like unemployment benefits when workers are out of work.

We call for the immediate reinstatement of all union and worker leaders including Abdul Jamil Lalaludeen and Chen Ka Fatt from NUBE, Ismail Nasaruddin from NUFAM, Wan Noorulazharfrom EIUWR, and RusainiMamat from NUTEAW.

We also call for Malaysia to immediately ratify ILO Conventions 87, Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise and Convention, and other important worker conventions. We also call for Malaysia to give full effect to the ILO and UN Conventions that it has ratified including also ILO Convention 98, Right to Collective Bargaining.

Senator Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud

Charles Hector

Mohd Roszeli bin Majid

Pranom Somwong

For and on behalf the 47 organisations listed below


Asia Pacific Forum on Women , Law and Development ( APWLD)
Asian Muslim Action Network (AMAN) Indonesia
Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
Clean Clothes Campaign
Club Employees Union Peninsular Malaysia
CWI Malaysia (Committee For A Workers International Malaysia)
Community Action Network(CAN)
Damn the Dams
Dignity International
Food Not Bombs-Kuala Lumpur
GoodElectronics Network
Human Rights Ambassador for , UK 
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
Kesatuan Eksekutif AIROD (KEA), Malaysia
Kesatuan Eksekutif Canon Opto
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific (KPPAP)
Knowledge and Rights with Young people through Safer Spaces (KRYSS)
MADPET(Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
MAP Foundation  Thailand
National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM)
National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers (NUHBRW), Malaysia
Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia(NAMM)
Paper Products Manufacturing Employees’ Union of Malaysia (PPMEU)
Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM)
Parti Sosialis Malaysia(PSM)
Pax Romana –ICMICA
Peoples ' Green Coalition,
Pergerakan Indonesia
Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL (PRIHATIN)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor
PINAY, Quebec, Canada
Pusat Komas
Radanar Ayar Rural Development Association
Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee
SALT (School of Acting Justly Loving Tenderly and Walking Humbly)
Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
Seksualiti Merdeka
Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
Tenaga Nasional Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU)
Think Centre, Singapore
WH4C (Workers Hub For Change)
Workers Assistance Center, Inc. Philippines
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA - Batam – Indonesia
Youth Section of The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (Pemuda KLSCAH)
Bread for All, UK