UNI-MLC urges govt to introduce non-discrimination policy for employees

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

THE Union Network International-Malaysia Labour Centre (UNI-MLC) is urging the government to immediately introduce a policy of dismissing investment and business that discriminates and oppresses Malaysian workers.

Its president Datuk Mohd Shafie BP Mammal said UNI-MLC supported the call by the National Union of Bank Employees on Feb 14 for the federal and state governments to take a firm stand to only welcome companies and foreign investments that are truly people-oriented.

He added that both the state and federal governments need to have the political will and serious commitment on bringing in quality investors who are willing to look after the interests of local workers, rather than prioritising profit alone.

“After 60 years of independence, it is time for the government to take a new normative approach in ensuring the interests of Malaysian workers are given emphasis and protected by prioritising a win-win situation.

“It is not just employers or investors who enjoy the one-party advantage, which is profit,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Mohd Shafie stressed that as a body that represents workers, trade unions always strive to create a harmonious industrial relations and environment at all times.

He noted that UNI-MLC’s insistence is based on its belief that only through a harmonious environment can the people enjoy a peaceful atmosphere in bringing genuine and positive development and growth at all times, thus benefiting employers and employees.

“We have to admit that in Malaysia, there are also big-hearted companies that are willing and committed to safeguarding workers’ rights.

“In the latest example, Aeon Co (M) Bhd agreed to raise the minimum wage to RM1,500 effective Jan 1, 2022, although the federal government announced that the policy will only be implemented later this year,” he said.

Mohd Shafie said therefore, it is time for both the federal government and each state government to introduce a zero-tolerance policy to persecution of workers at all levels by drafting a framework that involves a more constructive legislation.

He added that this would include reviewing the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony.

He also said provisions relating to guarantees or securities of employment should be ensured at all times due to job uncertainty; fear of retrenchment and retirement; and forced labour which has been of concern lately.

He stressed that this will have a great influence on working attitude and good industry relations.

“In fact, if left unaddressed, it will continue to tarnish Malaysia’s reputation and good name both at domestic and foreign levels.

“All government agencies at the federal and state levels should give attention to this matter. It needs to be emphasised if we really want to be a developed and high-income country,” he noted.