Thursday, April 17, 2014

May Day Rally - 7.00am - 12 noon, Dataran Petaling Jaya (opp Amcorp Mall)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

MTUC Media Statement:- Minimum Wage and Cost of Living Allowance(15/4/2014)

A Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) Media Statementon 15/4/2014

MTUC is calling for COLA - Cost of Living Allowance. This is something that workers in the public sector are now enjoying, and MTUC is saying that the about 8 million workers in the private sector should also be entitled to COLA as of right....

The statement also deals with Minimum Wages, whereby MTUC is calling for enforcement to ensure full implementation. Oddly, MTUC did not call for an increase of the rate of Minimum Wages in this statement. RM900 as minimum wages was fixed in 2012, and despite increase in cost of living, this figure is yet to be adjusted upwards .... It has been reported before that MTUC was never happy with the RM900, and have always been calling for this to be increased...

Source: MTUC Website

Cost of Living has Increased, Minimum Wage should Increase to RM1,200

KUALA LUMPUR, 8 Jan: The proposal from the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) for the central government to increase the minimum wage from RM900 to RM1,200 is necessary to help workers in the private sector face the increasing cost of living.

The Dewan Rakyat Senator, Syed Shahir Syed Mahmud, said that the RM1,200 rate is still little compared to the total increase in cost of living in the country.


He said that the reality to implement the RM1,200 amount requires commitment from all parties because the previous RM900 minimum wage faced numerous challenges from employers and the government.

“The RM900 minimum wage with an additional RM300 for the cost of living allowance (Cola) per month, should be given to employees of the private sector and the government, since the cost of living is on the rise,” he said when contacted by Selangor Kini today.

He said that employers should plan to provide other allowances to employees, such as food allowances, so that their welfare is assured.

“In addition to that, the basic salary with the additional allowance can reduce the cost of living and this is important for employees and their families,” he said.

Previously, MTUC demanded for the central government to raise the RM900 minimum wage to RM1,200.

The Deputy President of MTUC, Abdullah Sani, said that the delegation urged for the RM900 minimum wage in Peninsular Malaysia and the RM800 minimum wage for Sabah and Sarawak to be reviewed in the MTUC meeting on 22 December.

Abdullah Sani, who is also the Member of Parliament for Kuala Langat, said that the World Bank Report for 2013 stated that Malaysia is able to implement the RM1,200 minimum wage per month. - Selangorkini, 8/1/2014, Cost of Living has Increased, Minimum Wage should Increase to RM1,200

Now, Anwar saying MB did not do enough about 'Bible raids' but what should have been done not mentioned?

Anwar is pathetic coming out now (yes...only now) about the bible raids & confiscation in Selangor ... When it happened, I did not read any report/comment/instructions from Anwar(the defacto head of PKR, the head of the Opposition in Parliment, the head (or one of the 3 'big bosses' of Pakatan)...

He now criticizes MB Khalid for not doing enough ....but wait, the 'what more should have been done?' is not mentioned by Anwar in the Malaysiakini report.... We need constructive criticisms - not just 'should have done more' criticisms with no indication of what else could have been done...

As Pakatan Rakyat(PR), the coalition has a duty to ensure that all that is done in States it governed is in accordance to PR policy and promises... when there is any issue, advice...instructions from PR leadership must be flowing down to MBs and State government ....Anwar is so wrong to stay silent for so long ....and only now just before the PKR elections to come out and make such a comment...

Azmin has also been critical of Khalid... but was it after Khalid started investigating some 'alleged hanky panky' in PKNS which also saw Azmin not re-appointed as Director and some other staff being 'wrongfully terminated'... What was the alleged wrongdoings? What happened to that investigations?.... for suddenly there was much pressure put on MB Khalid by Azmin ( and his former boss, Anwar)...then we had the Kajang fiasco, the resigning of a ADUN and talk of Anwar going to contest to ultimately wrest the MBship from Khalid.....

Like we demand transparency and accountability from BN and the Federal Government, we also need transparency and accountability from Anwar, PKR, PR, PR ruled State governments...  In fact when it comes to PR, we should not even need to demand - for 'transparency and accountability' should be forthcoming as of right...

People do not need just 'what you are doing is wrong statements'.... but also 'what could have and should have been done in a particular situation...or still could be done now...' - now, this is concrete....  

So, what could have been done...
1 - Clear statement that PR is opposed to the action of JAIS to seize the said Bibles, and an immediate call for JAIS to return the said Bibles..
2 -  JAIS should never again enter places of worship/offices of persons of other faiths - JAIS should confine their work and operations to just Muslims.
3 - Selangor and all other Pakatan Rakyat ruled States shall table an amendment to any law preventing persons, other than Muslims, using certain words and terminologies - This, is after all the PR position.
4 -  PR States immediately instruct their State Religious Departments, who are currently party in those 'Allah' cases to withdraw or alternatively tell court that their position is that there is no objection to non-Muslims using the term Allah, etc...
5 -  Selangor shall amend its Constitution, to remove the existing religious qualification for Menteri Besar, etc... making it also in line with the Federal Constitution... [Now, according to our Federal Constitution, a non-Muslim can become the PM - all he needs is the support of the majority of the MPs...]
So, is Anwar making any of the above suggestions .... ????

I seriously hope that Anwar's statement of displeasure of Khalid at this time has nothing to do with upcoming PKR elections ...not an attempt to weaken Khalid's chances of winning the post he is contesting....

Anwar: MB didn't do enough on Bible raid


De-facto PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim admitted today that Selangor has not done enough on the issue of Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) bibles being seized by the Selangor Islamic Affairs Department (Jais) earlier this year.

Even though Jais does not directly come under the state supervision, he said that he Pakatan-led state administration and its Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim cannot "pass the buck".

"I agree that the MB should have taken more initiative on this matter," he said during a press conference at PKR headquarters today. - Malaysiakini, 16/4/2014, Anwar: MB didn't do enough on Bible raid

Saturday, April 12, 2014

High Court dismisses application to strike out charges against HRD Lena Hendry

Lena Hendry filed an application to strike out the charges against her, but sadly the High Court on 11/4/2014 dismissed that application. Courts can strike out the charges, but the Malaysian government do also have the power to withdraw these charges...

The draconian Act makes it an offence to '...have in his possession or in his custody or under his control; or ... circulate, exhibit, distribute, display, manufacture, produce, sell or hire,..any film or film-publicity material which has not been approved...' by the Film Censorship Board. And "film" includes the original or duplicate of the whole or any part of-(a) a cinematograph film; and(b) a videotape, diskette, laser disc, compact disc, hard disc and other record,of a sequence of visual images, being a record capable of being used as a means of showing that sequence as a moving picture, whether or not accompanied by sound... - so, it will cover even CDs (or even 'computer flash drives') that may contain even talks, education material on labour, Human Rights, religious matters, slide or power-point presentations?, etc...

This law would have serious implications for human rights defenders, educators of rights, politicians and political parties, religious communities, business communities, etc as the usage of this 'film' as defined by this law is very wide... We are all expected to send these 'film' for approval of the Film Censorship Board...who, I expect, will not be approving quite a lot of these 'films'...which may be critical of current government and policy, that highlights rights and injustice, that empowers people as to their rights and freedoms,...and this is unacceptable.

The charging of Lena Hendry, I believe, is the first time Malaysia has used this draconian law in Malaysia, and more so against a Human Rights Defender. The 'film' was a documentary about the situation and human rights in Sri Lanka. Likewise, people may also be charged if it was about the Palestinian issue...

This be the reason why we must all campaign for the dropping of the charge against Lena Hendry, and more importantly for the repeal of this draconian law. People's freedoms and rights must be respected - governments should never try to control freedom of expression and opinion, freedom to be educated about rights violations, freedom to highlight injustices, freedom to be an active informed and involved member of the global human family. More details and updates about the case and campaign for HRD Lena Hendry could also be found on the internet and also the blog named In Defence of Lena Hendry 

ONLINE PETITION  - this is also something that you could go and sign, and even leave comments

See related post:  ARTICLE 19, ALIRAN, PROHAM, NUBE,WH4C & 111 Others say Drop Charges against Lena Hendry


Lena Hendry fails to strike out charge over film on Sri Lanka atrocities – Bernama

April 11, 2014
A Community Communication Centre programme coordinator failed to set aside a charge alleging that she had screened a documentary that had not been approved by the Film Censorship Board.

Lena Rasathi Hendry was charged in the Magistrate's Court last September 19 for screening an uncensored film, No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commmerce Hall at Jalan Maharajalela in Kuala Lumpur at 9pm on July 3, 2013.

The charge under Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 carries a jail term of up to three years or a fine of up to RM30,000 or both, upon conviction.

She subsequently filed a motion to the High Court to strike out the charge on grounds that it violated Article 10 and Article 8 of the Federal Constitution.

On November 25, she was granted a stay of her case, pending outcome of the application.

High Court Judge Kamardin Hashim in dismissing Lena's application today, said the imposition of restrictions by the Film Censorship Board was not ultra vires under Clause 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution and was emphasised in Clause (4(1) of the same Constitution.

"The onus is on the applicant to show how her rights had been violated or how she was discriminated against under Article 8 of the Federal Constitution. Her reluctance to do so will only end in a full stop for her application.

"The issue is, how are we going to monitor the contents of a film if it is not first screened by an independent body like the Board. Hence the practicality of Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002," said the judge.

Kamardin also ordered the case to proceed in the Magistrate's Court.

Meanwhile, counsel Edmund Bon said he would appeal to the Appeal Court against the decision.

Deputy public prosecutor Jean Sharmila Jesudason appeared for the prosecution. – Bernama, April 11, 2014.– Bernama - Malaysian Insider, 11/4/2014, Lena Hendry fails to strike out charge over film on Sri Lanka atrocities

High Court rules against activist charged with screening controversial documentary

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here dismissed a human rights activist's bid to quash charges against her for screening a controversial documentary, ruling the charges imposed a reasonable restriction against free speech.

Justice Kamardin Hashim dismissed Pusat Komas programme coordinator Lena Hendry's application to set aside two charges against her under the Film Censorship Act 2002. 

"The charges impose a limit against the freedom of speech and expression which is reasonable and proportional with the objectives and goals of the Act," said Justice Kamardin. 

The court found that the restrictions were not in contradiction of Article 10(2)(a) of the Federal Constitution, which allows laws to impose on a person's freedom of speech in the interest of public security, order and morality. 

Justice Kamardin disagreed with counsel Edmond Bon's submission that the provisions under the Act constituted an unreasonable restriction as they formed an unjustified "prior restraint" on the right of speech and expression by prohibiting films from being displayed or circulated without prior approval of the Censorship Board.

"The question is: how do we ascertain the contents of a film, if it is not screened before an independent body like the Censorship Board?

"Considering documentaries and even cartoons are not free of negative and pornographic content, the Act is thus reasonable," read Justice Kamardin, in his 36-page grounds, on Friday. 

He also stated that the burden fell on the applicant (Hendry) to prove how her rights were violated by the charges.

"Failure to do so will put a full-stop to the application," said Justice Kamardin.

Programme coordinator for a human rights group Pusat Komas Lena Hendry claimed trial in a Magistrate's Court on Sept 19 to screening No Fire Zone, a documentary that had not been approved by the Censorship Board.

Under Section 6(1)(b) of Film Censorship Act, 2002, Hendry faces up to three years' prison or a fine not exceeding RM30,000, if convicted.

Hendry filed the application to the High Court registry to quash the charge on Nov 25, last year.

On July 3, 2013, three Pusat Komas activists - Anna Har, Arul Prakkash and Hendry - were arrested in a raid by the Home Ministry, when they attempted to screen the controversial documentary No Fire Zone at the Kuala Lumpur Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall, here.

The film No Fire Zone, directed by British national Callum Macrae, explores the oppression by the Sri Lankan government against Tamils in the island country. - Star, 11/4/2014, High Court rules against activist charged with screening controversial documentary 

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Why no record of written questions and answers in Malaysian parliament website?

Members and Parliament can ask ORAL and WRITTEN questions, whereby answers are given to them. For the Oral Questions, the answers will be there in the Hansard( the record of minutes of the Parliament proceedings) - but until 2014, the Parliament website keeps secret the Written Questions and Answers and the question is WHY?

The people have a right to know the question and the answers given, and all these could be simply uploaded in the Malaysian Parliament website. Our MPs and/or Senators still do not have the habit or the discipline to share with us in Malaysia the questions and the answers. This is also the case for most Opposition MPs/Senators - the people deserve to know.

When you hear the Parliamentary session, it is not uncommon for the Minister to say sometimes that he/she will forward the answers in written form - but the sad thing is that the people are kept in the dark. We want to know...It is our right.

Could it be that the reason for non-disclosure is the fact that most MPs/Senators never really take the trouble to frame and ask written questions..In this modern day and age, it is so easy to just scan question and answers received and make it available through Blogs(which are free) or websites. 

Well, the sad state of affairs is that most of these people's representatives do not even a Blog or a Website, which is a must. 

Many 'tweet' - but really with the number of words permitted per tweet, how effectively can you communicate to the people...

Some may have Facebook - the problem here is finding the information, you have to literally scroll down and try to find ....and then end up frustrated because the information that you are trying to find is not available...

ABSENT - there should also be attendance records of Parliamentarians (indicating also what time the came in and what time the left the Dewan... most of time, we now know that our 'peoples' representative' is absent.... Members of Parliament - that says it all, and your primary duty is to be in Parliament for all the proceedings representing your constituents...


Riot, public feedback on implementation of minimum wages? No, you tell us about this, and please increase minimum wages..

With regard to Minimum Wage, the Human Resources Minister urges the public to provide feedback on implementation of minimum wages by July 2014 - but where and how the feedback is to be provided is not indicated. 

Now, this a government that has been shown to be pro-employer, giving so many exemptions to delay employer's obligation to pay workers minimum wage. They verified the fact tha Malaysian workers were being too low a wage in 2009, and still it only decided to implement Minimum Wages on 1 January 2013 (and 1 July 2013), and even then it gave further time to some employers...at the disadvantage of workers, and finally all workers were only going to get the benefit of the minimum wage in 1 January 2014. 

Minimum wages was determined in mid-2012, and since then there has been increases in the cost of living, and yet the minimum wage rates have not been revised. Households receiving less that RM3,000 were given financial assistance by BR1M, logically even if 2 in that household were working, that means RM1,500 would be fair and obvious new minimum wage. 

And now, the Minister is not talking about reviewing the minimum wages amount but merely the implementation. 

Surely, the government should have been monitoring the situation actively to see what was happening, or it was not...because it was less bothered about workers and more concerned about employers. Still, the minister talks about the 'problems' of '645,136 small and medium sized companies in Malaysia' but does not even mention the figures of workers that have suffered in the delays of the right to a minimum wage. 

Why are we even lumping micro, small and medium sized companies? - really, the only category of employers that may be deserving special attention maybe the micro-sized companies/employers, maybe some very small-sized companies. 

"...medium enterprises is defined as businesses having a ‘sales turnover between RM10 million and RM25million OR full time employees between 51 and 150’..." Senator Syed Shahir : Malaysia Must Keep Its Promise To Workers Made In July 2012 - Stop Discriminating Workers, Including Migrant Workers

After decades of calling for the implementation of a minimum wage law, the Malaysian government finally conceded and implemented Minimum Wages of RM900 for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak which was to come into effect on 1 January 2013, and for employers with 5 or less employees by 1 July 2013. The discrimination between West and East Malaysia is unacceptable, more so when in fact the cost of living in East Malaysia is higher, and logically the minimum wage there should have been higher but now it is only RM800. 

The Malaysian government verified that employers were paying workers too low wages, following a survey conducted...
"...The other reason is, according to our National Employment Returns 2009, 34% of 1.3 million workers in the study earn less than RM700. It could be more. Our Government has determined the poverty line to RM720, so we have by virtue of the wage mechanism itself, we are creating poverty in about 34% of people on the go, without doing anything else at all. So when the Government decided the poverty rate is RM720 and our wage mechanism by virtue implementation as we have, shows that 34-35% of below poverty line and that is something to do and to think about...." - 
SpeechBy Y.B. Datuk S. Subramaniam, Minister Of Human Resources National Minimum Wage Workshop, 4August 2010, Putrajaya International Convention Centre (Poverty line income in 2012? The number of poor in Malaysia increasing or decreasing)
Now, here the Minister said that 34% earned less than RM700 - but the poverty line is RM720. So, we do not know how many earned less that RM720. Was it 40%...was it 50%? The survey seems to involve only local workers, so if it also included the about 2 million migrant workers, would it be even higher?

Poverty Line Income - well, that is an information that is very difficult to get in Malaysia, but we have what it was in 2009, and it RM900 - not RM720. Surely, poverty line income would be rising and not going down. So, how many workers in Malaysia were really earning below the poverty income line.

Vide Minimum Wages Order 2012 dated 16 July 2012, the Malaysian government promised Malaysian workers minimum wages in January 2013, save for workers with employers with 5 or less workers who were to receive minimum wages by July 2013. Then, on 28 December 2012, vide Minimum Wages (Amendment) Order 2012, promises to workers were broken when over 600 listed employers were permitted to pay their workers minimum wages at a later date, being April, July or even October 2013. The latest breach of promise is when employers, categorized as Small Medium Enterprises(SME) were allowed to delay payment of minimum wages to their migrant workers until December 2013.Senator Syed Shahir : Malaysia Must Keep Its Promise To Workers Made In July 2012 - Stop Discriminating Workers, Including Migrant Workers 

Why is the BN government so pro-employer? How many of the Cabinet and MPs are employers, in Board of Directors of employer companies, large shareholders in corporations/businesses,..? Logically, they by protecting employers are really protecting their interest - and if this is what is happening, this is very wrong and they have forgotten that as government, their primary obligation is to all Malaysians, especially the poor and the marginalized. And workers earning less than RM1,500 or below poverty line income are the 'poor and marginalized', and that must the first priority of government not employers that make tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands and even millions...

Human Resources Ministry Wants Public Feedback On Minimum Wage - Riot 
3 April 2014 
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3, (Bernama) — Employers, workers and the public have been urged to provide feedback about the implementation of minimum wage before July.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot Jaem said this was neccessary so that he could bring up the suggestions at the National Wage Council meeting in July.

“I am asking the public including the employers and workers to come back to us with suggestions on how we can improve the minimum wage,” he said after launching ‘HR Risk Management Solution’, here today.

“Hopefully with this, we can ensure that the minimum wage can be fully implemented, and it must be a win-win situation.” he added.

At present, there are 645,136 small and medium sized companies in Malaysia, and to fully implement the minimum wage on the SMEs is a bit difficult.

In his speech earlier, Riot said the SMEs should adopt good human resource practices to reduce the number of industrial relations cases.

“Between 2005-2012, we had 94,879 industrial relations cases referred to the Industrial Relations Court and another 10,500 cases were referred in 2013.”

HR Risk Management Solution is a collaboration between i-HR Consultant Sdn Bhd and Tune Ins Holdings Bhd.

It comprises the provision of human resources knowledge and content via a human resource portal; the provision of human resource advisory support by experience human resource or legal practitioners and the provision of Employment Practice Liability Insurance.

Source: Bernama - MTUC Website

Saturday, April 05, 2014

MH370 - Number of China Southern Airlines ticket holders? Who is responsible for their customers?

I buy a ticket from the Malaysian Airlines(MAS), and when I get to the airport, I check-in at the MAS Counter, and when I get to the plane it is not a MAS plane but a plane of some other company. Why? Code share - because Malaysian Airline has entered into agreement with some other airline to carry MAS's passengers to the required destination. These code-share arrangements can sometimes involve many different airlines, and even at the airport, that is why we see many different 'flight numbers' on the display screens announcing arrival and departure of planes.

I have at times felt cheated because I would have bought a ticket with a particular airline because I like the airline and the on-board services, and maybe after considering its service records. Imagine the disappointment when I find that I am to board a plane from a different airline... and, mind you this fact is known by the passengers at the very last minute... Complaint all you want but your choice is to fly in that plane or ...what? So, many passengers just board the plane as directed..

With regard to MH370, we are told that China Southern Airlines was a code share partner in that flight. So, how many passengers were really MAS passengers having bought a MAS ticket, and how many of them were really China Southern Airline passengers having purchased a China Southern Airline ticket for that flight. To date, this information has not come out...WHY?

Well, it was MAS plane, so MAS is responsible for the plane and the safety/security of passengers in that flight, but surely the 'code-share' partner should also be responsible especially to the China Southern Airline passengers...would not the agreement/contract be between passenger and airline the passengers bought their ticket from? Should not the China Southern Airline passengers be demanding 'answers', compensation, assistance from China Southern Airline?

Interestingly, China Southern Airline was almost 'invisible' throughout the whole situation? Of course, MAS CEO foolishly may have said that MAS was wholly responsible, but really...? 

Or was it really that all passengers in flight MH370 was really passengers flying with MAS ticket...and there were really no passengers flying using tickets purchased from China Southern Airline? 

If there were China Southern Airline passengers on flight MH370, should it not be this airline now taking care of the family and friends of their passengers on flight MH370? 

When a passenger purchases a ticket from a particular airline, is not the contract (...all obligations, responsibilities, etc) between that airline and its passengers?

MAS CEO: MH370 Code share partner will help families of passengers

KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Malaysia Airlines (MAS) code share partner China Southern Airlines has agreed to cooperate with MAS in giving aid to families of passengers of missing MAS Flight MH370, said MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. 

He said MAS, however, shouldered a heavier burden because the missing aircraft belonged to the airline.  

“We have discussed with China Southern Airlines. As this is our aircraft, the responsibility is more on us. They are only our code share partner,” he told a media conference on the latest developments on the search mission for MH370 here today.

Also present were acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.

Flight MH370 was also marketed as Flight CZ748 by China Southern Airlines and there were passengers (on board) holding the Chinese airline company’s tickets.

On another matter, Ahmad Jauhari said MAS had yet to receive any information that some of the families of the missing passengers wanted to file suits.

He said MAS would give a response after finding out the form of demands that would be made.

“We have not been notified... we have to know what is the suit filed against us before we can respond,” he said.

Prior to this, the media reported that several families of passengers of MH370 had hired the services of legal firms to sue MAS.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers including 152 China nationals and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.

A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors — the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of Flight MH370 that it “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”. The search continues there. — Bernama - - New Straits Times,31/3/2014, MAS CEO: MH370 Code share partner will help families of passengers

60,000 workers in government schools are still not receiving minimum page? This is shameful

All workers in Malaysia was finally supposed to be earning minimum wages from 1 January 2014 - and now MTUC reveals that 60,000 workers working in government schools are still not being paid minimum wages... 

All workers in Malaysia was supposed to be paid minimum wages on 1 January 2013, and employers with 5 or less workers were required to pay by 1 July 2013....BUT then there were exemptions given to various categories of employers...and workers suffered....1 January 2014 was the final deadline for employers - after that they had to pay minimum wages.. 

The government should really be the direct employer of all these workers working in government schools...and pay them all minimum wages immediately...

These contractors should all be penalized .... and black-listed - no more government contracts? 

But knowing this government, they would most probably give a 'further extension' and deny workers minimum wages...

04 April 2014| last updated at 02:01PM

60,000 contract workers yet to receive minimum wage - MTUC

PETALING JAYA: More than 60,000 contract workers in schools nationwide have yet to receive minimum wages, said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president, Mohd Khalid Atan.

These workers, who included cleaners, gardeners, security guards and traffic wardens, were still being paid old wages averaging between RM400 and RM600 per month, he told Bernama here today.  
He urged the Education Ministry to look into their plight urgently as they were facing great hardship due to the increasing cost of living.   
The minimum wages policy of RM900 per month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM800 per month for Sabah and Sarawak came into effect on Jan 1 2013, but was only fully implemented in January this year.   
Some employers were given an extension until April 1, however.  
Khalid said the Human Resources Ministry should intensify its enforcement efforts to ensure compliance.
He said MTUC was made to understand that the Ministry lacked sufficient enforcement officers to do so and if that was the case the union was willing to lend a hand. 
He suggested that MTUC’s divisional leaders could be roped in to assist in the enforcement exercise. -– BERNAMA - New Straits Times, 4/4/2014, 60,000 contract workers yet to receive minimum wage - MTUC

Friday, April 04, 2014

Malaysia must stop arresting and detaining Asylum seeking women accessing maternal healthcare

03 April 2014
Last week, three asylum seeking women who were admitted to GHKL to deliver their babies, were informed that they would be sent to immigration detention after delivering their babies. Reportedly, the hospital personnel notified the immigration authorities about the two women. The immigration authorities in turn informed the husbands of the women that their wives would be sent to detention after delivering their babies. The women and their husbands experienced great anxiety while waiting for the babies to be born in addition to struggling with the usual fears associated with child-birth.
This week, an asylum seeker was sent to detention with her new born baby in spite of pleas to let the woman stay overnight at the hospital until UNHCR had the opportunity to intervene in the morning.   
The previous week, an asylum seeking woman who delivered her baby in GHKL was sent to immigration detention while her baby remains in the hospital. The husband is concerned about his wife’s post natal care as well as the fact that the baby is missing its mother’s care.
New admissions of asylum seeking women to GHKL continue to be told that they will be detained after delivery, even those who have undergone a Caesarean section delivery.
Health Equity Initiatives is extremely concerned about this new development. Not only does it exacerbate the ongoing fears of refugees and asylum seekers while accessing health care; it also holds the strong possibility that this population would avoid an institutional delivery or resort to unsafe abortions if they get pregnant. Both these factors are risk factors for maternal mortality given the specific vulnerabilities of their lives in Malaysia.  Additionally, the risk of maternal morbidity including infection is exacerbated when postnatal care is lacking, especially for Caesarean births.
Malaysia has made a global commitment to reduce maternal mortality through the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In addition, the country has ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 1979. As such Malaysia is obliged to uphold the provision of elimination of discrimination against women in their access to health care throughout the life cycle, particularly in the areas of family planning, pregnancy and confinement and during the post-natal period, as stated in CEDAW and its General Recommendation No. 24.
Malaysia is regularly cited by international agencies including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank as a “good practice” for its success in terms of maternal health. The rapid decline in maternal mortality is especially attributed to expanded access to an integrated package of maternal and child health services and ensuring that such efforts reached the poor.  Yet, reports which identify a significant prevalence of maternal deaths among non-citizen women attribute it to their limited access to maternal health services. 
The WHO emphasizes that the establishment and maintenance of breastfeeding should be one of the major goals of good postpartum care.  It states that breast milk is the optimal food for newborn infants and prevents infant morbidity and mortality caused by infections and malnutrition.  Malaysia’s National Breastfeeding Policy which was formulated in 1993 and revised in 2005 recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life. Kementrian Kesihatan Malaysia also recommends placing the baby on the mother’s chest for at least 10 minutes for skin to skin contact and putting the baby to the breast for suckling within one hour after delivery.  Skin-to skin contact between mother and baby brings about many physiological and psychological benefits for the baby, including greater respiratory, temperature, and glucose stabilization, optimal brain development, protection from the negative effects of separation, maternal attachment, and improved infant neurobehavioral development.  As such, separation from the mother or placement in detention poses significant health risks to the new born.  Placement in detention would aggravate the newborn’s exposure to infections.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) 1990 ratified by Malaysia requires State parties to ensure that discrimination does not undermine children’s health. Malaysia as a State Party to the CRC and having enacted the Child Act 2010, has a duty to protect the health of the newborn child. Importantly, CRC and its General Comment No. 15 emphasize the importance of access to health care, especially appropriate pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers in order to reduce neonatal deaths.
Refugees and asylum seeking women experience specific and adverse sexual and reproductive health vulnerabilities and outcomes owing to exposure to conflict and military presence, gender and sexual based violence, and poverty.  They require the protection of the international community. Immigration policies of arresting and detaining such vulnerable women, especially at the time of child birth, make Malaysia and its policies appear cruel and inhumane. Additionally, such health care practices do not reflect the regard for science and evidence that underline Malaysia’s Ministry of Health policies in terms of maternal health.
In line with Malaysia’s international commitments to CEDAW, CRC and the MDGs, Health Equity Initiatives calls on the Malaysian government to immediately withdraw this new policy of arresting and detaining asylum seeking women accessing maternal health care. Instead we call on the government to make maternal health care, including family planning services accessible to refugees and asylum seekers and place their human rights at the centre of policies related to them. Undoubtedly, these are complex issues. Managing them requires robust technical and ethical guidance as well as integrated national and regional approaches to burden sharing. Health Equity Initiatives offers to work together with the Malaysian government, UNHCR, and other stake holders concerned about refugees and maternal health to find a durable solution to the issue of accessibility of refugees and asylum seekers to health care, including maternal health care.
Prepared by
Sharuna Verghis
Health Equity Initiatives
Endorsed by
All Women's Action Society (AWAM)
Association of Women Lawyers (AWL)
Malaysian Care
Malaysian Social Research Institute (MSRI)
Pusat Kebajikan Good Shepherd (PKGS)
Reproductive Rights Advocacy Alliance Malaysia (RRAAM)
Shanthi Dairiam -  Former CEDAW Committee member

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Teachers Strike protesting longer working hours and against performance related pay rise scheme

When in Malaysia, it looks as if workers have been 'brainwashed' into believing that strike and industrial actions is not the 'correct' way forward in resolving worker-employer disputes... Workers in other countries continue to use strike action to effectively struggle for their rights but in Malaysia, we hardly remember when was the last worker strike...

The laws have been amended/enacted to really make it very very difficult for Malaysian workers/unions to strike - in fact, Malaysia wants workers and unions to just lodge complaints with the government ... 

So, even when Union leaders are 'wrongfully terminated', we do not even see much protest from fellow workers at the same workplace....Employers can continue to violate worker rights....and workers just lodge complaints with the government... 

This system works very well for employers ... no risk of disruption of profits... no risk of even 'bad publicity'....for after all, the lodge the complaint - try to resolve the situation amicably ... if cannot refer to court is all a rather  'secret' process which media is also not interested to cover... and it takes a long time.... and people forget the victims and the violations... the injustice and violation of rights just get swept under the carpet...

After a while, it becomes the norm....and maybe today Malaysian Unions and workers have really forgotten how to strike.... Historically, strike has been the most effective weapon of workers and trade unions to get better rights and working conditions...

National teachers' strike: Schools shut across Wales

Teachers' rally NUT Cymru says teachers are being asked to work longer and pay more into their pensions
Continue reading the main story
Almost half of schools in Wales have been closed or partially shut after teachers went on strike for the day.

Teachers in the NUT union in Wales and England were protesting against the UK government's changes to pay and pension terms.

Despite the Welsh government having power over education in Wales, pay is controlled by the UK government.

The UK government criticised the strike, saying it caused disruption for children and parents.

More than 13,000 teachers from hundreds of schools across Wales took part in the action.

Some 500 Welsh schools were partially closed and more than 300 completely shut.
While some schools were forced to close completely, most secondary schools were open for pupils studying for their GCSEs and A-levels.

The strike was called after a row over a new performance-related pay structure and tougher pension package planned by the UK government.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said that introducing performance related pay would be a way of raising teaching standards.

The idea is designed to bring automatic pay rises to an end, with schools given the flexibility to offer higher salaries to their best teachers.

But the fear is, with budgets so tight, it would be difficult to reward the best teachers without penalising those who are struggling.

An NUT Cymru rally outside the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday morning attracted up to 300 people.

The union's Wales secretary David Evans, speaking from the rally, told the BBC: "Teachers are being asked to pay more into their pensions and are being asked to work longer.

"So it's pay more, work longer, receive less."

David Evans, NUT Cymru secretary, says parents understand it is a "fight for education"

Earlier, he had said that nobody could accuse the union of taking strike action lightly, adding previous planned action had been called off twice.

"Unfortunately teachers across Wales really do feel as if they are left with little alternative," he said.

"In many cases they are not simply fighting for a fair deal for teachers, opposing the unfair pay and pension's raids they have faced, but are standing up for the very nature of education services on offer in our communities. 

"No teacher wants to strike. 

"The individuals doing so will be sacrificing a day's pay, but it is a decision based on securing the long-term sustainability of public education in Wales and the UK." 

Teachers' rally Teachers were taking part in a rally outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay

The other big teaching union, the NASUWT, has walked out alongside the NUT in the last two national strikes but did not strike on Wednesday.

The UK government said the strike action was damaging children's education and was unpopular with parents.

A spokesperson for the UK government's Department of Education said: "Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the government's measures to let heads pay good teachers more. 

"They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly. - BBC News, 26/3/2014, National teachers' strike: Schools shut across Wales