Thursday, April 30, 2009

Labour Day

Media Statement by M.Kula Segaran MP Ipoh Barat, Secretary of Parliamentary Caucus on Labour and Foreign Workers Malaysian Parliament on 30th April 08.

The world’s economy is slowing down. Thousands of workers have been laid of in the largest economy of the world the USA .

In the last session of Parliament the Minister of Human Resources replied to me that from 1st October08 to Feb 09 a total of 19,650 workers have been laid off. Of this 13,821 are locals and 5,829 are foreigners. Also that over 40-50 thousand workers are expected to be laid off the whole of this year.

Dato Seri Najib while introducing the mini budget in Parliament has mention the priority would be to create job opportunities. To date how many jobs have been created? Why many are still been retrenched or laid off? What help will and can the governments give?

Retrenchment Fund.
For many years the Unions and political parties have been asking the government to set up a retrenchment fund. By setting up the fund it will go along way to help when workers are retrenched or laid off. Now Malaysia does not have a safety net for those workers who are retrenched or laid off especially when factories are closing down due to the slow down of the economy. The Human Resources Ministry must and should set up a retrenchment fund and contributions could come from both the workers and the employers. Initially the Government could give a grant to set up and launch the fund.

On top of this Malaysia has currently over 300, 00 thousand workers in Singapore . Singapore economy is expected to shrink by at least 5% in 2009. This is real bad news. What contingency plans have the Human resources made to assist these possible retrenched workers? Sad to say although the Ministry is aware of the potential problem little or nothing has been done to cushion the retrenchemes which is now taking place in Singapore .

Minimum wage.
For the moment we have only minimum wage for 1) 2) 3) . The minimum wage is ridiculously low. How can workers live with such low wages? What we need is a compressive policy on minimum wages. During Human Resources Minister Fong the government took a stand that minimum wage cannot be implemented as it would impede competition and foreigners will thus not invest in Malaysia . Now under Dato Subramaniam no to minimum wage because of the slow down of the economy. The reasons by both Ministers cannot be accepted and it’s not logical. IN fact minimum wage applies in USA < Japan and many countries and why their economy is doing better then us. We suggest a minimum wage of RM 1,000 and cola of 200 a month for all employees.

Foreign Workers.
We have presently over 2 million legal foreign workers and over 500,000 thousand illegal workers. The foreign workers are will to take a low salary to work and thus Malaysians are denied job opportunities. If decent salaries are paid Malaysians would be willing to work in jobs where foreigners are employed.

The government must reduce dependence on foreign workers.

M.Kula Segaran

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