Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Malaysian Bar:- Malaysia Must Not Become an Authoritarian State

Press Release | Malaysia Must Not Become an Authoritarian State
Tuesday, 02 September 2014 07:32pm
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is heavily critical of the recent spate of arrests under the Societies Act 1966 and prosecutions under the Sedition Act 1948 and Penal Code.  The raft of arrests and prosecutions of individuals lately shows that we are undergoing an intense period of oppression against citizenry and regression in the rule of law marked by the aggressive curtailment of rights and fundamental liberties under our Federal Constitution.

These individuals are being charged for allegedly criticising or insulting political parties and critiquing or making comments, albeit adverse ones, with respect to court judgments.  These are clearly not offences that are envisaged by, and that are within the ambit of, either the Sedition Act 1948 or the Penal Code.

In order for legal decisions to stand the test of time, they must survive the test of public scrutiny.  Only then can they be seen as sound judgments that will serve to govern our conduct and direct our actions.  In no way should criticism of court decisions, or how they came to be made, be viewed as seditious by virtue of being an affront to the administration of justice. 

The Malaysian Bar is particularly appalled with the charges that have been brought today against Associate Professor Azmi Sharom of Universiti Malaya.  His comments about the Perak constitutional crisis of 2009 are wholly within the purview of academic freedom and public discourse.   This cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, constitute sedition. 

Likewise, we reiterate that questioning the exercise of discretion should not be seen as being disrespectful to those to whom that discretion has been given, but a legitimate examination of the proper exercise of that discretion as permitted by law.

Secondly, our Federal Constitution gives to the state government jurisdiction over the administration of local government, which conceivably includes the creation of volunteer groups to assist with local administration.  The members of the Pasukan Petugas Sukarela (“PPS”) are volunteers recruited from the community by the state government.  Any question over the legality of such groups should be settled by way of federal-state government discussion, and not by the arrest and detention, and the threat of arrest and detention, of members of such volunteer groups.  
Even if there is a dispute as to the legitimacy of the PPS, whether under the Societies Act 1966 or otherwise, there appeared to be no imminent threat to national security, public safety or order that necessitated the police and Federal Reserve Unit to descend upon them in the manner that they did.  The arrest of members of the PPS immediately after their participation, at the invitation of the Penang State Government, in the Merdeka Day parade in Penang was therefore an unnecessary, unreasonable and disproportionate use of police powers and discretion.  

Power and discretion are conferred by legislation on the premise or presumption that they are to be exercised properly based on intelligence and common sense.  It appears that neither of these criteria was present.  It gives rise to the impression that the police are arbitrarily exercising their powers merely because they believe they can do so with impunity.  This is an abuse of power and process.

In that light, the threat by the Inspector General of Police to investigate and possibly to charge people who criticise or allegedly disrespect him on Twitter is seen as an intimidation of members of the public, and is another example of a wholly inappropriate response.  

The Prime Minister once famously declared that the days of “government knows best” are over.  Yet the actions by the authorities in recent days to detain, arrest and/or prosecute individuals who have been perceived to have challenged or questioned the authorities, deny the very humility that that declaration presupposes.

The Malaysian Bar calls upon the authorities to cease acting in a repressive and oppressive manner.  These recent events have made a mockery of the 57 years of independence that we have just celebrated.  Malaysia must not become an authoritarian state. 

Christopher Leong
Malaysian Bar
2 September 2014
See also:- 

SEDITION ACT - an draconian legislation that has no place in a true democracy?

Background about the PPS arrest

250 PPS members rounded up during Merdeka march in Penang

Members from the Penang voluntary patrol unit (in purple shirts) at the Lebuh Pantai police station after being arrested for taking part at the Merdeka march-past at Esplanade in Penang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Husssain, August 31, 2014. 
Members from the Penang voluntary patrol unit (in purple shirts) at the Lebuh Pantai police station after being arrested for taking part at the Merdeka march-past at Esplanade in Penang. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Husssain, August 31, 2014.
About 250 members of Penang's Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) were arrested during the state-level Merdeka celebrations in George Town this morning, hours after Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi advised Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng not to challenge the police on the legality of the organisation.

The PPS members were stopped by the police immediately after they had participated in the official march-past, as part of the annual parade for the celebrations at the Padang Kota Lama about 10.15am.

They were taken to the nearby Lebuh Pantai police station for questioning. Police had the station cordoned off and guarded by the Federal Reserve Unit.

In his tweet today, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar urged PPS leaders to surrender or risk having their homes raided by police. "Elok lah mrk yg bertanggungjawap keatas PPS ini segera menyerah diri sebelum kami serbu kediaman. (It is better if those responsible for PPS to surrender before we start raiding their homes)," he said.

"We welcome initiatives to look after community safety but not by challenging the authorities.

"If there are parties wanting to assist and cooperate with police, put in the proper proposal and not by challenging the competence of parties responsibility for safety."

Ayer Itam assemblyman Wong Hon Wai said the police team waited for the PPS members at the tail end of the parade. He said the arrests went on without any untoward incident.

Khalid was on Friday quoted by Bernama as saying that PPS had appeared to stray from its objective when it was established four years ago, that is to serve the community.

Lim yesterday insisted that the unit had only helped the public during emergencies and disasters. He maintained that PPS was legal and legitimate as it was a state body instituted under the Penang government.

He had also said the state would accord full legal support to anyone who was arrested, and provide financial support for their families during their period in captivity.

By 11.15am, police had begun escorting the members in batches into police cars and trucks, to be taken to the George Town District police headquarters at Jalan Patani.

The PPS members mostly seemed unfazed, and were seen raising their arms to supporters and relatives who had gathered outside the station.

At about 11.50am, two yellow school buses were driven and left waiting in front of the station. More PPS members were then led out to be driven away in the buses.

Some supporters were heard shouting in Hokkien "mein kia" (be not afraid) as some of the members waved the Malaysian flag and showed the "thumbs-up" sign.

George Town district police chief ACP Mior Faridalatrash Wahid was present but was tight-lipped and gave no comments to reporters.

State executive councillor in charge of the PPS, Phee Boon Poh, expressed disappointment with the police action.

He said there were only two misdemeanour allegations against a small number of PPS members. The first saw a member apologising and pleading guilty to assaulting a reporter, while investigations are still ongoing for the second incident.

"Just because of two incidents you want to disband (PPS)," he said, adding that the unit has by and large contributed by helping with much-needed community policing, and during emergencies and disasters like floods, fires and road accidents.

A crowd of supporters and relatives had by noon also begun to converge outside the district headquarters.

Lim is expected to arrive and give a press statement. – August 31, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/250-pps-members-rounded-up-during-merdeka-march-in-penang#sthash.F8FIwfZq.dpuf

SEDITION ACT - an draconian legislation that has no place in a true democracy?

If someone LIES - then it would libel or defamation >>> it is also a criminal offence ...

Now,  Sedition is about causing disaffection with the government, etc ... it is a violation of freedom of expression and opinion... it also is bad for Malaysia - for it is against criticism, highlighting of failings, etc - It is a draconian piece of legislation - certainly unsuitable for a democratic nation.


- Because it is a draconian legislation
- It violates one's right and freedom of expression and opinion - people should be free to raise disaffection against the Government, the administration of justice (i.e. the police, the prosecutor, the courts, ... ), etc - any criticism and disclosure of wrongdoings, etc can be said to be an offence under this Act.
- Worse, even if the facts disclosed is the TRUTH, under this Act it is not a defence - for the only concern is whether there is a 'seditious' tendency. Whether it is true or not is irrelevant. [In Defamation, truth is a defence....]
- Where there was any INTENTION to be seditious is immaterial.




The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (the Commission) welcomes the announcement of the proposed repeal of the Sedition Act 1948, one of the many laws which it has previously called upon the Government to repeal, and hopes that this commendable move will enable a greater enjoyment of the basic human rights to freedom of speech as guaranteed under the Federal Constitution and as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948 (UDHR). 
The Commission appreciates and supports the efforts for democratic reforms and to safeguard human rights and freedom in the country, as promised during the Honourable Prime Minister’s special Malaysia Day address on 15 September 2011. The Government 

Cease Use of, and Abolish, the Sedition Act - Malaysian Bar

Press Release | Cease Use of, and Abolish, the Sedition Act

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 03:09pm 
ImageThe Malaysian Bar is concerned with the ongoing use of, and resort to, sedition laws by the authorities.  This is in direct contradiction to the express recognition by the Government that the Sedition Act has long outlived its purpose, and undermines the explicit pledge by the Prime Minister in July 2012 to repeal this law.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Until Malaysia ensure rights of migrant workers are protected efficiently and speedily...?

Migrant workers in Malaysia know very well the precarious nature of their employment in Malaysia. Workers, generally, will not resort to protests, pickets, strikes or industrial action unless they are forced to take such actions. They risk the 'all too easy possibility of termination', and in the case of migrant workers, this may follow with a cancellation of their employment pass/visa - meaning that they can no longer remain legally in Malaysia after this happens,...

The problem in Malaysia is that the 'access to justice' mechanisms are perceived to be ineffective by many. Workers lodge complaints (or inform) the Human Resource Department - but SEE nothing happening fast and effectively. They do not see the Labour Department officials coming down 'immediately' to investigate and resolve the problems. Same thing is perceived by many when it comes to the police and other enforcement bodies. 

At the Human Resource Department, after a complaint is lodged, there is a need for IMMEDIATE action - and keeping the complainant informed of actions taken and other development. If this is absent. many a complainant began to feel it was all a waste of time .... and there is loss of faith in the actions of authorities. The relevant department/authorities must review their modus operandi to something that will regain the confidence of workers. 

There is also a general perception that the relevant authorities are 'friendly' with employers, management and staff..... and there is also a perception of discrimination. Relevant officers in the Labour Department, Police and ...must be trained to behave in an unbiased manner ...interested only in justice. 

LABOUR DISPUTE BETWEEN WORKERS AND EMPLOYER - and here, it is acceptable in generally most countries that workers have the right to  protest, picket, strike and take industrial actions ... and this usually ends with an agreement/settlement between workers and their employers... now, these methods are generally the most effective means to get quick results... [Lodging complaints, trade disputes, claims with the relevant authorities generally just take TOO long.... ]

The police to date have been focusing their attention on the workers...in this case the migrant workers >> But really, the question is what started this? And, it more likely than not something that the employer or their agents did - Why are we not hearing calls for employers and management to follow the laws or act justly when it comes to their workers. - Respect our laws, police warn foreign workers(see Star report below)

Now, this issue seem to have started after a migrant worker dies - there are allegations that the worker was not accorded proper treatment, given access to healthcare speedily, etc... This must be investigated.

(1) Some of these factories and worker accommodation are far away from hospitals/clinics and migrant workers generally do not have their own transportation, and public transport is also generally not available in these areas.....
(2) Many migrant workers generally will not be allowed to leave their workplace or 'worker accomodation' without permission...
(3) Many employers continue to hold on to worker passports and work pass/visa - and without this workers cannot go to hospitals/clinics and get medical treatment and care... Likewise, money is a issue, since migrant workers to get healthcare in even a government healthcare facility is expected to pay RM50 for registration - and thereafter First Class Rates... hence, many a time money in hand is a problem...
(4) Worker Accommodation - well. there is still no LAW that insist on minimum worker housing standards at factories, etc  - some of these migrant worker accommodation in Malaysia are now really in a bad state. When will Malaysia make laws to ensure a healthy living environment for workers? Having the law itself is worthless unless there is regular 'spot checks' and enforcement

IN 2010, JCY agreed to:-  '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'. Recently, "..The company will also provide a 24-hour in-house medical clinic at its plant in Tebrau and have appointed panel clinics for workers in Kulaijaya...." (see below Star, 30/8/2014, Nepalis who rioted return to work )

TORTURE allegations is what allegedly resulted in the unrest in Kulaijaya.... Has the police started investigating this?

Another problem is the question of WHO is the employer...who is responsible for the wellbeing and welfare of the workers? Workers may be working in Factory AA, but really they may just be working there, but their real employer since the introduction of the 'contractor for labour system' may be Company BBB. Worker accommodation may be outsourced to Company CCC -  For factory AA, it is a great situation - they so easily can escape employer obligation and duties to their workers... The state of affairs is detrimental to workers generally... I say, that Malaysia must abolish these 3rd parties in an employment relationship, the Employer must always be Factory AA - where the workers work, and factory AA must be responsible for all living and working aspects of especially migrant workers...

See also earlier related posts :-

JCY International Bhd claim not aware of foreign workers being allegedly abused at its factory?

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

Foreign workers punished - forced to play "volleyball with stones" and refusal results in beatings?

MTUC calls for tripartite meet concerning Tebrau and Kulai strikes

Updated: Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 8:15:29 AM

Nepalis who rioted return to work

KUALA LUMPUR: All the Nepali workers who rioted at their electronics plant in Kulaijaya earlier this week over alleged mistreatment by their employers have returned to work.

Nepali ambassador to Malaysia Dr Niranjan Man Singh Basnyat said their demands have been met by the company and they went back to work yesterday morning.

Among the demands was for a 24-hour clinic within the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd factory in the Kelapa Sawit Industrial Area.

The 800 workers went on strike on Tuesday, following a similar incident involving some 1,500 workers at the company’s branch in the Tebrau IV Industrial Area, near Johor Baru on Aug 21.

The strike was over the company’s alleged negligence in handling the health issue of worker Karka Bahadur Nirbula, leading to his death. Dr Niranjan said the worker had been sick for about five days due to a respiratory problem.

“His friends took him to a hospital because there was no medical facility within the factory compound. He died on the way to the hospital,” said Dr Niranjan, when interviewed yesterday.

“The embassy was on top of the crisis from the beginning,” he said, adding deputy chief of mission Hemlal Sharma Bhattarai was sent to Johor to mediate between the company’s management and the workers. 

In JOHOR BARU, the management of JCY HDD Technology said they had started a probe into all claims against the company by the foreign workers at their two plants.

“We are unaware of any mistreatment of workers as alleged to the media and we have initiated our own investigations on the matter. We will take steps to further improve the communication,” a spokesman said.

The company also extended its condolences to the family and friends of the dead worker and condemned all acts of violence that had purportedly occurred.

On allegations of mistreatment, the company affirmed that it will abide by all regulations and provide workers with a minimum wage of RM900, and accommodation with basic amenities. The company will also provide a 24-hour in-house medical clinic at its plant in Tebrau and have appointed panel clinics for workers in Kulaijaya. - Star, 30/8/2014, Nepalis who rioted return to work 

Updated: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 8:31:43 AM

Government urged to deport those who violate country’s labour laws

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry has urged the Government to immediately deport foreign workers who violate the country’s labour laws by resorting to violence.

Its president Datuk Loh Liam Hiang said while Malaysia welcomed foreign workers, they should not break the country’s laws.

“Malaysia should emulate Singapore by banning for life foreigners who violate the country’s labour laws.

“Damaging property or striking will interrupt productivity,” he said in response to the riot by workers of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd here.

Loh said the authorities should also take stern action against companies which mistreat their workers regardless of whether they were locals or foreigners. 

Social activist Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said foreign workers must sit down with their employers to settle industrial disputes amicably instead of going on strike or resorting to violence. 

“I’m against all forms of exploitation by employers and also violent acts by workers as this will not solve problems,” he said.

Lee advised employees to complain to the Labour Department if they felt that they were being mistreated by their employers.- Star, 29/8/2014, Government urged to deport those who violate country’s labour laws

Published: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 11:48:16 AM

Respect our laws, police warn foreign workers

File picture shows a police officer addressing a crowd of foreign workers who staged a strike outside the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building in Kulaijaya on Tuesday.
File picture shows a police officer addressing a crowd of foreign workers who staged a strike outside the JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd building in Kulaijaya on Tuesday.
KULAIJAYA: Foreign workers at companies here have been warned to respect Malaysian laws or face stern action, said Johor police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Mohktar Mohd Shariff.

He said rioting and public disorder by fo­­reign workers would not be tolerated and the police would not hesitate to make arrests.

“You came to this country to work. You have to respect the laws and the police will not to­lerate any nonsense,” he said after a meeting with the management of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd here yesterday.

He said the management of the electronics manufacturing company had held discussions with its foreign workers, witnessed by officials from several foreign embassies, to resolve the problems that culminated in a riot at the Kelapa Sawit industrial area here on Tuesday.

“Forty-nine arrests have been made. Two of them are from Bangladesh and the rest are from Nepal. The police will continue to identify and arrest those involved in the incident at the factory,” he added.

JCY executive director Datuk Tan Shih Leng said the company had complied with Malay­sian labour laws and all the requirements that were agreed to with the foreign workers.

The company’s general manager, who wanted to be known only as Liaw, said the plant was closed yesterday following the riot.

In Tuesday’s incident, more than 800 foreign workers gathered outside the building and hurled stones and other objects at the manage­ment office.

They set an office building and a car on fire, while three other buildings were damaged.

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 various objects from their four-storey quarters and overturned a parked van. - Star, 29/8/2014, Respect our laws, police warn foreign workers

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Goodbye MAS Employees Union(MASEU) and other Unions in MAS?

Well, the plans revealed for Malaysian Airlines(MAS) by the Malaysian government wholly owned, Khazanah Nasional Bhd, includes 'the creation of a new company, (NewCo) which will house the ‘new MAS’ and the migration of the right-sized workforce and work practices and contracts into NewCo'... NewCo would require a workforce of approximately 14,000, representing a net reduction of 6,000 or 30% from the approximately 20,000 current staff.

Now, if a new company is created, MAS's existing assets can be 'transfered/sold' to the new company - but this cannot happen to workers. Workers in the OLD-Co(Malaysian Airline System Berhad?) will then be terminated/retrenched and will be entitled to receive termination/retrenchment benefits, etc... 

Then, NewCO can re-employ the workers of OLD-Co. 

a) Will the terms and conditions of employment be the same? [Now, many of the MAS workers are regular employees until retirement, will they be  re-employed by this NewCo as regular employees with employment security until retirement age? Or will they be re-employed as short-term contract employees - a most precarious employment relationship for workers? Or will the NewCo start relying on the 'contractor for labour system' - i.e. entering into arrangements with third parties to supply workers to work in NewCo - these will not be employees of NewCo - an even more precarious employment practice for workers?]

b) Will the workers re-employed by this NewCo be also allowed to enjoy the benefits that with come with tenure(length of service) they had in OLD-Co? Or will they be just considered brand new workers?

c) Will the workers in OLD-Co even be re-employed? Will NewCo just go out and employ new workers - not the old workers? If there is going to be re-employment, will there be any guiding principles....like LIFO[Last In First Out] being the principle when it comes to retrenchment - will NewCo give priority to the length of tenure in OLD-Co when it comes to the re-hiring?

Now, let us talk about the UNIONs in MAS - Most of these Unions are in-house Unions of employees now in OLD-Co - so, effectively when OLD-Co is no more or has no more employees, all these Unions will cease to exist? All existing Collective Agreements will be of no use anymore... The employees of NewCo will now have to re-organize themselves into new unions...and in Malaysia, this can be a long process - the application for registration, the application for recognition, etc ...it could be years before these new trade unions will be able to enter into Collective Bargaining Agreement... [Or maybe the new MAS law may just prevent the formation of trade unions in NewCO]. The biggest of the OLD-Co Unions is the MAS Employees Union(MASEU) and there are another 6-8 other inhouse Unions too... So, if this proposals go through, we will effectively be saying GOODBYE to MASEU and the other existing in-house unions...

Now, with regard the National Union of Flight Attendants(NUFAM), who have managed to already succeed in the secret ballot and get recognition (although this is currently being challenged by OLD-Co in the courts), they would have to start all over again, and claim recognition from NewCo... 

New-Co - is there really a need for the creation of a new Company? Maybe not if the security and welfare of employees is the concern.... The OLD-Co can always re-structure, and that may mean retrenchment which can be done according to the LIFO principles. Steps can also be taken to try to find alternate employment for workers no longer needed in the airline... Justly, the UNIONs should be involved in this process... 

Now, Khazanah was the majority shareholder (69 percent stake in MAS) would have also been in control of MAS, which was suffering losses and failing [even before MH370 and MH17] - so, one wonders whether the government should not handover MAS to some other wholly owned company(not Khazanah) if they truly want to succeed this time around. In fact, Khazanah, being the entity with the controlling interest in MAS should take the blame for MAS's failing to date... shouldn't they? [Or maybe, there has been changes in Khazanah at the top that makes this a 'new' Khazanah?]

In fact, all those who have been in control of MAS (Directors, CEOs, Upper Management, etc) should be let go and new people brought in if we reasonably want our airlines to succeed... 'You do not poor new wine into old skin'. 

Maybe we should be looking at maybe nationalizing the airlines - putting it under the government directly, or alternatively under some other 100% government owned-controlled entity - the Minister of Finance (Incorporated) [MOF (Inc.)]?

Maybe, winding-up OLD-Co may be better - surely better than just transferring assets and liabilities , which include contractual obligations, to NewCo? 

Now workers employment security, and the welfare of themselves and their families, is the concern of the government - this should be the priority for me compared to the future success of the Malaysian airline. But, now it seems that success of the airline and not the welfare of workers seem to be taken as more important. 

As a Malaysian, I am concerned with the future of Malaysian airlines - and, I hope we see a better proposal.

I read that this proposal has already been approved by the cabinet? - well, I believe, that is something that first need to be brought up in Parliament, discussed and approved by Parliament. Even before that, the public need to be allowed to discuss and provide input - after all, it is OUR money...our airlines....and our fellow Malaysian worker and their families that will be affected.

Published: Friday August 29, 2014 MYT 3:31:00 PM
Updated: Saturday August 30, 2014 MYT 9:37:05 AM

Khazanah unveils 12-point plan for MAS

KUALA LUMPUR: Khazanah Nasional Bhd has unveiled a 12-point plan to enable Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to achieve sustained profitability within three years of de-listing, by the end of 2017.

Its managing director Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar said the plan involved a comprehensive overhaul of the airline.

“At its core, the plan involves the creation of a new company, (NewCo) which will house the ‘new MAS’ and the migration of the right-sized workforce and work practices and contracts into NewCo,” he told reporters at a special briefing at Khazanah headquarters on Friday.

The plan, entitled “Rebuilding A National Icon – The MAS Recovery Plan”, has four categories which are governance and financial framework, operating business model, leadership and human capital, and regulatory and enabling environment. 

Azman said this plan followed a review of all relevant aspects of MAS’ operations and operating environment that commenced in February this year. 

He said current MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya would continue to lead the old company during the transition period over the next 10 months to July 1, 2015.

“Khazanah has commenced the search process for the CEO of NewCo and we envisage that the conclusion of this search will be announced in due course, expected to be before the end of 2014,” he said. 

Azman said it was estimated that NewCo would require a workforce of approximately 14,000, representing a net reduction of 6,000 or 30% from the approximately 20,000 current staff.

He said Khazanah would invest in a Corporate Reskilling Centre to address the reskilling of the appropriate MAS staff who did not migrate to NewCo. 

“MAS and Khazanah are committed to helping each exiting employee minimise the negative impact to their livelihoods and quality of life,” he said. 

On Aug 8, Khazanah announced it would undertake a selective capital reduction and repayment exercise at an offer price of RM0.27 per MAS ordinary share, representing a 29.2% premium to the 3-month volume weighted average market price at the time of announcement. - Star, 29/8/2014, Khazanah unveils 12-point plan for MAS

Tragedy-hit Malaysia Airlines to lose 6,000 jobs in bold revamp

KUALA LUMPUR Fri Aug 29, 2014 6:03am EDT
An airport worker walks between Malaysia Airlines planes at Kuala Lumpur International Airport July 25, 2014. REUTERS-Olivia Harris
A member of ground crew works on a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 airplane on the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang July 25, 2014. REUTERS-Olivia Harris

 An airport worker walks between Malaysia Airlines planes at Kuala Lumpur International Airport July 25, 2014.Credit: Reuters/Olivia Harris

(Reuters) - Malaysia Airlines (MASM.KL) (MAS) will slash nearly a third of its 20,000 workforce and cut back its global route network as part of a radical 6 billion ringgit ($1.9 billion) restructuring following the devastating impact of two jetliner disasters. 

The 42-year-old company will be de-listed by the end of the year under the broad revival plan announced by state fund Khazanah Nasional on Friday that aims to bring long-elusive efficiency and global standards to the loss-making carrier.

The 6,000 job cuts were higher than expected by the industry and mark a painful new blow for staff after a traumatic year for the national flag-carrier and the Southeast Asian country. Khazanah, which owns a majority stake in MAS, said it would invest in "re-skilling" those who lose jobs and pledged to set up a panel to improve often rocky relations between unions and management.

"Recent tragic events and ongoing difficulties at MAS have created a perfect storm that is allowing this restructuring to take place," Khazanah Managing Director Azman Mokhtar told reporters in Kuala Lumpur. 

"We believe that the 6 billion is not a bailout, we believe it will be recovered with re-listing," he said.

Khazanah, which currently holds a 69 percent stake in MAS, will take 100 percent ownership when the carrier is de-listed. The state fund said this month that it would pay 1.4 billion ringgit to buy out minority shareholders. 

Under the restructuring plan, which was approved by Malaysia's cabinet this week, MAS' assets and liabilities will be transferred to a new company with Khazanah injecting up to 6 billion ringgit. 

Khazanah aims to return MAS to profit by 2017, and re-list the airline within five years, by which time it would be a more regionally focused airline "with lower cost structure and greater emphasis on revenue yield management," the state fund said in a statement. 

An international search for a new chief executive was underway, Khazanah said, and the current CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya would stay on until July next year.

Khazanah, which has injected more than 5 billion ringgit into MAS over the last 10 years, said its new fund injections would be strictly tied to the new company meeting performance targets. 

"Success is by no means guaranteed," Khazanah said. 

Airline industry players said the revival plan appeared to be far more comprehensive and radical than several others that have been announced since MAS began struggling in the late 1990s after a period of rapid growth. 

"The plan that has just been announced is comprehensive, credible and adequate even if painful for MAS staff and other stakeholders," said Bertrand Grabowski, DVB Bank's managing director in charge of aviation. DVB is a banker to MAS.

"It is comprehensive because it touches all the key weaknesses that the airline has not being addressing for years - an overstretched network and fleet in an ever more competitive environment, short haul and long haul."


The drastic downsizing caps a wrenching year for the airline following the unexplained disappearance of Flight MH370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March and the shooting down of Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July.

Even before those deadly tragedies, MAS had been steadily falling behind high-end rivals such as Singapore Airlines (SIAL.SI) and been battered by the rise of Asian budget carriers like AirAsia (AIRA.KL).

The company hasn't made an annual profit since 2010 and on Thursday revealed deepening losses and warned of more to come as nervous travellers steered clear of it after the disasters.

The restructuring is a bold move by the long-ruling government, which has used state firms such as the national airline as social tools to create jobs and reinforce policies favouring majority ethnic Malays over other races.

The main union at MAS has close ties to the ruling UMNO party - and has successfully resisted previous restructuring attempts. 

"If we seek a different outcome from past experiences, we must have the courage to choose a different method," Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a statement.

"Piecemeal change will not work."

The executive secretary of the main MAS workers union, Jabbarullah Kadir, declined to comment on the restructuring plan, saying the union had not yet agreed a position on it.

Khazanah said it aimed to reduced MAS' net gearing to as low as 100 percent from 290 percent currently through debt-to-equity swaps. It said it had already secured a commitment from Malaysia's civil servants' pension fund to swap 750 million ringgit of Islamic bonds for equity.

The state fund did not give details on plans to reduce the carrier's flight network, but said several of its European destinations would be reviewed. Malaysia Airlines will retain global flight connectivity through the Oneworld alliance and code-sharing, Khazanah said. 

(Additional reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE and Trinna Leong in KUALA LUMPUR; Writing by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Ryan Woo) - Reuters, 29/8/2014, Tragedy-hit Malaysia Airlines to lose 6,000 jobs in bold revamp

MTUC calls for tripartite meet concerning Tebrau and Kulai strikes

Let us also make sure that the migrant workers are also represented in this tripartite meeting ... yes, the affected migrant worker reps from both the Tebrau and Kulai factory ...  (Agreements must just not be made by just reps without consultation with all the affected workers)

It is also best that JCY International is also present at this meeting - not just JCY's subsidiary JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd (JCY)...


29 August 2014 Print page
Press Released

Malaysia Trades Union Congress (MTUC) calls for an immediate tripartite meeting between employers of JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd (JCY), Human Resource Ministry and  MTUC on the recent strike by their foreign workers in protest of the companies, negligence in handling of health issues of their workers.

Our MTUC Johor Division officers on the ground have been following the case closely with some of JCY’s migrant workers. Workers shared that their protest escalated when one of the staff of JCY provoked by throwing stones at their private part when the workers refuse to ‘play the game of throwing stones’ at each other in their workplace at Kulaijaya. These workers, about 20 of them who participated in the strike in Tebrau were forcefully moved to Kulaijaya. At Kulaijaya these workers were forced to play a game of “volley ball with stone” as a punishment for taking part in the strike at Tebrau over the death of their co worker who complained of having difficulty in breathing.

According to the workers they resort to industrial action as they were dissatisfied in the manner the management handled their grievances. Their main concerns were on the issues concerning their health, work condition, poor hostel facilities, calculation of overtime, not adhering to off day’s entitlement, various deductions in their salaries and low compensation for accident and injuries. The workers were also displeased with the attitude of the management in that workers are beaten for any mistakes made. They said that the management have constantly not treating them with dignity and respect. Their concerns at workplace worsened over the years that their only option was industrial action.

MTUC is very concern in the way the management of JCY handle the issues of worker’s grievances at workplace. Management’s intimidation and hostile attitudes towards worker is totally unacceptable. These fundamental issues have been put off so long that workers have lost total confidence with the management of JCY. Our national policy and practices on protection of Migrant workers too have failed to address significantly the rights of migrant workers.

Human Recourse Ministry have repeatedly denied our call for Migrant workers to be given SOSCO benefit just as Malaysia workers instead migrant workers are covered by Workmen Compensation Scheme with computation of compensation differs extensively. There is justification no why dual set of computation of compensation is need for Malaysian and Migrant workers.

At the same time MTUC is concern on the over dependency of Migrant workers in JCY. It has been noted that about 95% of foreign workers employed by JCY are production workers. JCY’s depends on more than 10,000 migrant workers mainly from Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar and Vietnam. These only raises concerns that wage distribution and condition of employment offered have been inadequately address that prompt many Malaysian in Johor to work in Singapore instead.

MTUC also urge that police investigation should look into the provocation and alleged assault made by the management over the incident in Kulaijaya. Police investigation must be fair and unbiased towards all parties involved.

Meanwhile MTUC Johor Division will offer our services to all migrant workers especially workers who are affected in the incident in Kulaijaya and Tebrau. Migrant workers can call our hotline number at 016-2118024 should they need any assistance or inquiries.

Thank You.

N. Gopal Kishnam,
Secretary General

See also related posts:- 

JCY International Bhd claim not aware of foreign workers being allegedly abused at its factory?

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

Foreign workers punished - forced to play "volleyball with stones" and refusal results in beatings?

Friday, August 29, 2014

JCY International Bhd claim not aware of foreign workers being allegedly abused at its factory?

'Fiery riot' firm unaware workers being abused

The management of JCY International Bhd has claimed that it is not aware of foreign workers being allegedly abused at its factory in Johor.

In a media statement, the firm said an investigation has been launched into the allegations, which have been widely reported in the media.

"The management is of the view that the incident (riot) was a result of miscommunication between all parties concerned and will take steps to further improve communication," it added.

Among others, it was claimed that a senior staff at the Kulai factory had pelted the private parts of the foreign workers with stones.

On Tuesday, enraged workers torched the factory building and a car belonging to a management staff.

The company also clarified that they moved 23 workers from Tebrau to Kulai after the earlier riots to “calm” the situation at Tebrau.

“Twenty three workers were temporarily separated from Tebrau factory and moved to Kulaijaya factory for the purpose of calming the situation of the workers unrest incidence that took place at a worker hostel located in Tebrau IV, Johor Bahru on 22 and 23 August 2014.”

It is believed that the riot in Tebrau last week ensued after a worker, Karka Bahadur Nirbula died of sickness after not being given medical treatment by the company.

Death acknowleged

While it acknowleged the death, the company did not address the allegations surrounding Karka's death.

It only said that there is a 24-hour clinic at the Tebrau factory, and Kulaijaya workers can go to the panel clinics without restriction.

It also said that it will now raise its compensation for workers who die on the job, by paying the remainder salary from their tenure or RM10,000, whichever higher.

JCY added that all their salary payments as well as accommodations for the workers were in compliance with the Malaysian labour law.

“JCY HDD had fully complied with Malaysian’s minimum wage requirement of RM900 per month since the first day it came into effect on 1 January 2013. As legally and normally practised by other companies in the electronic industry, JCY HDD also practices rest day that do not necessarily falls on a Sunday.”

JCY HDD Technology Sdn Bhd is a unit under public-listed company JCY International Bhd.

The company also cleared that any deductions made to the salary of workers were done with the approval of authorities.

“All salary deductions made by JCY HDD are with approval from relevant government authorities.”

It also acknowledged that worker Karka Bahadur Nibula had died from illness prior to the incident, but did not address claims that this was due to of access to medical aid.

It, however, said that there is a 24-hour clinic in its Tebrau factory while those at the Kulai operation can seek medical attention at panel clinics without restriction.

Not the first time JCY under fire

The company also reiterated that the damage was minimal as the fire only engulfed an area, which held “non-crucial equipment” and “consumable items”.

“There was no major damage to the main building or any of the machines within the factory.”

Meanwhile, Tenaganita programme director Glorene Fernandez revealed that this is not JCY’s first tussle with foreign workers.

“We have handled cases from JCY International before regarding their mistreatment of foreign workers.

“Previously, there was another case involving a Nepali foreign worker as well, which was brought to the industrial court but was settled off court by JCY,” Fernandez told Malaysiakini.

Fernandez added that Tenaganita has previously conducted talks with JCY workers to educate them regarding their labour laws and rights.

Separately, PSM in a statement condemned the treatment of foreign workers by JCY International.

“The management’s idea of punishing 20 workers - forcing them to play volleyball with a rock, and throwing a stone at their private parts – that sparked off angry protests by the workers is outrageous and reflects the impunity enjoyed by employers,” said PSM central committee member Rani Rasiah.

“The workers had remained compliant despite enduring all kinds of abuses and deprivation – low income, cramped living quarters with up to 45 workers sharing a shop house, beatings if they made mistakes, and being forced to walk an hour to work,” Rani added.

PSM also questioned the authorities actions regarding the case as no management staff was remanded, despite allegations of abuse.

“Who are the victims?” she quizzed.

MTUC Johor secretary K Mohanadas told Malaysiakini that workers had complained of being beaten at work, no over time, no medical care and deplorable living conditions (above).

Additional reporting by KAMLES KUMAR, a trainee journalist with Malaysiakini. - Malaysiakini, 28/8/2014, 'Fiery riot' firm unaware workers being abused

See also:- 

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


Foreign workers punished - forced to play "volleyball with stones" and refusal results in beatings?