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Monday, October 20, 2014

Workers and Unions call for support to end Union Busting and promotion of worker rights....

These 150 over workers and unionist walked against 'union busting' activities - and are now calling upon the Malaysian Bar, Human Rights Commission (SUHAKAM) and in fact all persons concerned for justice and human rights to push for changes in policy and law of the Malaysian government, etc... so that 'union busting' activities will end and there will be respect for worker and union rights

See earlier Blog post, which also contains the memorandum handed over

Malaysian workers marched against Union Busting amd worker right violations in Malaysia

Malaysiakini - BM

Kesatuan jalan kaki bantah isu cabul hak berpesatuan

Kira-kira 150 pekerja termasuk 20 pemimpin kesatuan pekerja hari ini berjalan kaki bagi menyerahkan memorandum membantah pencabulan hak berpesatuan.

Kumpulan ini bergerak daripada stesen Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) bermula jam 10 pagi dalam dua kumpulan secara berasingan menuju ke pejabat Majlis Peguam dan Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam).

Mereka yang memakai baju berwarna hitam melaungkan "Hidup pekerja" dan "Hentikan pencabulan hak pekerja" dan ada di antara mereka menyanyikan lagu KTMB sambil memegang sepanduk "Jangan cabul hak kami".

Bagi kumpulan pertama, mereka menyerahkan memorandum di Majlis Peguam terlebih dahulu sebelum bertemu kumpulan kedua yang berkumpul depan pusat membeli belah Sogo bagi menyerahkan memorandum kepada Suhakam.

Antara wakil kesatuan sekerja yang terlibat dalam kempen itu ialah Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC), Kesatuan Pekerja Keretapi Tanah Melayu (RUM) dan Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-pekerja Bank (NUBE).

Hadir sama Setiausaha Eksekutif Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-pekerja Perusahaan Alat-alat Pengangkutan dan Sekutu, Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.

Sementara, Presiden MTUC Khalid Atan yang mengetuai kumpulan pertama menyerahkan memorandum itu kepada Timbalan Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Majlis Peguam Chan Oy Sim di pejabat Majlis itu.

Memorandum itu antara lain meminta Majlis Peguam dan Suhakam mendesak kerajaan menghentikan segala dakwaan pencabulan hak kesatuan pekerja dan memperkenal undang-undang yang lebih berkesan bagi menghalang majikan melakukan pencabulan hak berpesatuan di kalangan pekerja.

Mereka kemudiannya berjalan kaki menuju ke pusat membeli belah Sogo bagi menyerahkan memorandum kepada Suhakam bersama-sama dengan ahli kesatuan yang lain.

Sementara itu, kira-kira jam 12.00 tengahari, Khalid bersama Presiden RUM Abdul Razak Md Hassan dan beberapa wakil RUM dan Nufam menemui Pesuruhjaya Suhakam James Nayagam untuk menyerahkan memorandum dan mengadakan perbincangan selama 10 minit.

Sebelum itu, Abdul Razak berkata kempen berjalan kaki secara aman ini adalah kemuncak terhadap tindakan menamatkan perkhidmatan 41 pekerja KTMB kerana berpiket.

“Kita berjalan kaki hari ini untuk mengutuk pencabulan berpesatuan yang boleh menghancurkan kesatuan pekerja di negara ini”

“Pencabulan ini memberi kesan yang buruk kepada masa depan pekerja di negara ini,” katanya.

Sebelum ini, RUM mencabar presiden syarikat Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB), Datuk Elias Kadir berdebat dengan pihak kesatuan bagi menjelaskan sebab pemecatan anggotanya dari syarikat tersebut.

Kira-kira jam 12.45 tengahari peserta yang menyertai perhimpunan itu bersurai secara aman.- Malaysiakini, 20/10/2014,
Kesatuan jalan kaki bantah isu cabul hak berpesatuan

Malaysian Insider

MTUC gesa henti ‘union busting’, serah memorandum kepada Suhakam

Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) hari ini menyerahkan memorandum kepada Suruhanjaya Hak Asasi Manusia Malaysia (Suhakam) bagi menggesa majikan menghentikan segala bentuk penindasan "Union Busting" terhadap pekerja mereka.

Presiden MTUC Khalid Atan berkata, pihaknya mewakili pekerja yang tertindas mengharapkan campur tangan badan hak asasi manusia itu untuk membela nasib pekerja yang diberhentikan majikan tanpa sebarang alasan yang munasabah.

Kumpulan berkenaan mengadakan bantahan secara aman di perkarangan pejabat Suhakam dengan membawa plakad tertera perkataan "Hentikan Union Busting" sambil melaungkan "Henti Penindasan", "hidup, hidup pekerja", dan "hidup Suhakam".

"Kita hari ini di Suhakam, berbincang dengan pesuruhjaya atas tindakan majikan yang tidak bertanggungjawab, dan kita mahu Suhakam memberi pembelaan kepada pekerja yang dibuang tanpa sebarang alasan. "Mereka (Suhakam) mungkin akan anjurkan pertemuan antara majikan dan pekerja untuk membincangkan permasalahan ini," kata Khalid dalam ucapannya sejurus penyerahan memorandum kepada Anggota Pesuruhjaya Suhakam James Nayagam.

Sebelum itu, MTUC turut berarak ke pejabat Majlis Peguam untuk memorandum yang sama.

"Hari ini kita berhimpun membantah tindakan majikan membuang pekerja tanpa sebab munasabah.

"Pagi tadi kita serah memorandum kepada Majlis Peguam, dan mereka janji akan kaji aduan kita dan membawa perkara ini kepada pihak atasan," kata Khalid di depan lebih 50 peserta piket.

Program yang dikenali sebagai "MTUC Walk" itu bermula sekitar jam 9.30 pagi dengan peserta berhimpun di depan bangunan Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) sebelum bergerak ke pejabat Majlis Peguam.

Program berkenaan kemudiannya tamat sekitar jam 12 tengahari sejurus memorandum bantahan diserahkan kepada Suhakam.

"Union Busting merupakan satu trend yang semakin ketara di mana majikan memberhentikan, menamatkan, memecat, menggantung dan mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pemimpin kesatuan sekerja dan ahli serta pekerja yang terlibat dalam aktiviti kesatuan sekerja yang dianjurkan secara sah," kata memorandum mereka.

Selain itu, kumpulan berkenaan turut menyatakan contoh beberapa pemimpin kesatuan sekerja yang dikenakan tindakan oleh syarikat mereka.

Antaranya ialah Presiden Kesatuan Pekerja Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (RUM) Abdul Razak Md Hassan, Presiden Kesatuan Sekerja Pembantu Penerbangan Malaysia (Nufam) Ismail Nasaruddin dan Naib Presiden Kesatuan Sekerja Pekerja Bank (NUBE) Abdul Jalil Jalaludeen. – 20 Oktober, 2014.
- See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/bahasa/article/mtuc-gesa-henti-union-busting-serah-memorandum-kepada-suhakam#sthash.av5EV7XJ.dpuf

NTV7 News
MTUC: PROBE COMPANIES' MISCONDUCT
20 Oct 2014, 06:09pm BY Sobana Damodaran



The Malaysian Trade Union Congress, MTUC has submitted a memorandum to the Bar Council and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, SUHAKAM, over alleged mistreatment of union members by certain companies.

MTUC wants the two institutions to investigate complaints of misconduct levelled at several companies, including suppressing union members.

The memorandum was handed over during a peaceful gathering in front of the Bar Council and also at the SUHAKAM office.
 

About 150 members and leaders from various unions were present.

MTUC Secretary General, Gopal Krishnam said the unions understand the employers' needs, but they must not interfere with union's business unless they broke the law.

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia, NUFAM former president Ismail Nasaruddin, who was recently sacked by Malaysia Airlines, said they wanted their rights to be protected.

According to the MTUC, more than 100 workers from several companies have been fired and suspended for trivial reasons.



- See more at: http://www.ntv7.com.my/7edition/local-en/MTUC_WANTS_COMPANIES_TO_STOP_SUPRESSING_UNION_WORKERS_1413799965.html#sthash.A72Hb8ib.dpuf

Malaysian workers marched against Union Busting amd worker right violations in Malaysia

On 20th October, about 150 workers and unionists marched against Union Busting - memorandums were presented to the Malaysian Bar and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission(SUHAKAM) calling for involvement in the struggle to end Union Busting and violations of worker rights in Malaysia...

 

MEMORANDUM CALLING FOR AN END OF ALL FORMS OF UNION BUSTING AND VIOLATION OF WORKER RIGHTS 
17 October 2014 

A disturbing ‘UNION BUSTING’ trend is immerging, whereby employers have been terminating, suspending and taking disciplinary actions against TRADE UNION leaders and members, and workers involved in legitimate TRADE UNION and worker activities.


1. For picketing in front of Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) on the issue of worker future welfare and rights, which the Union saw as being impeded by the current President of KTMB, KTMB terminated the Railway Union Malaysia (RUM) President (Abdul Razak Md Hassan), Vice President (R. Subramaniam), 41 others and suspended 27 others union members that participated in the said picket.


2. For the issuance of a media statement as the President of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), Ismail Nasaruddin was terminated by Malaysian Airlines Systems Berhad (MAS) by reason that it is misconduct for an employee to issue a Statement. NUFAM Secretary General (Mohd Akram Osman) and 5 union members have also been terminated for union activities.


3. For the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) activities, Vice-President (Abdul Jamil Jalaludeen) and Treasurer General (Chen Ka Fatt) was terminated by bank management.


4. For someone else being raised issues about worker injustices in a closed Facebook group of union members, the President of Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region, Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUWR)/ Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Barat Semenjung Malaysia (KSIEWBSM), Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah was terminated by RENESAS.


5. For the submission of a Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) memorandum to candidate contesting in the General Elections to get commitment to worker rights, 18 union members from National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers/ Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja Pekerja Perusahaan Alat Alat Pengangkutan dan Sekutu (NUTEAIW) were terminated in DRB HICOM subsidiaries in Pekan, Pahang including the MTUC Pahang Chairman Rusaini Ramli.


6. For issuance of a media statement as a President of National Union of Journalist (NUJ), Mohamed Hatta Wahari, Deputy President and Branch Chairman Amran Ahmad and Deputy Secretary Norazri Abdul Rahman was terminated by Utusan Melayu (M) Bhd.


7. President and 16 Union leaders and workers of Kesatuan Kakitangan Pekerja-Pekerja Westport (M) Sdn Bhd was terminated for union activities.


8. For picketing in front of Ansell NP Sdn.Bhd, Malacca on the issue of worker welfare and rights, Ansell NP Sdn. Bhd terminated the Branch Deputy Chairman (NUECMRP) and 9 union members that participated in the said picket.


The above, are some of the cases in which workers have been terminated, and/or disciplined by reason of their involvement in union activities.


The Industrial Relations Act 1967, section 5 – Prohibition on employers and their trade unions in respect of certain acts’ provides that ‘…(1) No employer or trade union of employers, and no person action on behalf of an employer or such trade union shall-(a) impose any condition in a contract of employment seeking to restrain the right of a person who is a party to the contract to join a trade union, or to continue his membership in a trade union;(b) refuse to employ any person on the ground that he is or is not a member or an officer of a trade union;(c) discriminate against any person in regard to employment, promotion, any condition of employment or working conditions on the ground that he is or is not a member or officer of a trade union;(d) dismiss or threaten to dismiss a workman, injure or threaten to injure him in his employment or alter or threaten to alter his position to his prejudice by reason that the workman- (i) is or proposes to become, or seeks to persuade any other person to become, a member or officer of a trade union; or (ii) participates in the promotion, formation or activities of a trade union; or (e) induce a person to refrain from becoming or to cease to be a member or officer of a trade union by conferring or offering to confer any advantage on or by procuring or offering to procure any advantage for any person….’ is the particular provision now available to protect termination, disciplinary action and/or discrimination against union members but is found to be insufficient.


The government talks about industrial harmony, and promotes the usage of complaint mechanisms but a great injustice happens because business and employers continue unaffected making profits, whilst the wrongfully dismissed workers is left to languish without employment and income which affects the welfare and wellbeing of workers and their families. The process of resolving wrongful dismissal cases take years to resolve, and at the end of the day majority of the workers do not even get reinstated.


Union registration and recognition takes too long, and is further delayed by employers making judicial review applications and appeals to the courts. This delay, which can last many years, deprives workers of their right to an fully functional TRADE UNION and the benefits of a Collective Agreement.


What is most disturbing is some of these ‘UNION BUSTING’ actions are being committed by Malaysian government owned or linked companies like KTMB, MAS, WESTPORT and DRB-HICOM.

THEREFORE, WE CALL ON SUHAKAM, MALAYSIAN BAR AND ALL HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS TO JOIN US IN CALLING ON THE GOVERNMENT OF MALAYSIA TO:


1. End of all forms of UNION BUSTING, and for the respect and promotion of all worker rights.


2. More effective legislations that will prevent employers from ‘UNION BUSTING’, termination or taking disciplinary actions against union leaders and union members for union activities. employers must be prevented from using union activities, or legitimate actions of workers promoting worker rights, and struggling against injustice into employment misconducts.


3. Employment misconducts need to be strictly confined to misconducts related to workplace, and not used to prevent union and worker activities, standing up against injustice and worker right violations, or the promotion of rights for workers.


4. Reinstate all union leaders and members who have been terminated, and cease all suspension and disciplinary proceedings against workers by reason of their union activities;


5. Expedite the process of registration and recognition of trade unions;


6. Expedite the process of resolving trade disputes and wrongful dismissal cases;


7. End all forms of UNION BUSTING activities.

MTUC SELANGOR & WILAYAH PERSEKUTUAN DIVISION 

Source: MTUC Website


MEMORANDUM UNTUK MENGHENTIKAN SEGALA BENTUK MEMECAH BELAHKAN KESATUAN ‘UNION BUSTING’ DAN PELANGGARAN HAK ASASI PEKERJA

17 Oktober 2014 


‘Union Busting’ merupakan satu trend yang semakin ketara di mana majikan memberhentikan, menamatkan, memecat,  menggantung dan mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pemimpin-pemimpin kesatuan sekerja dan ahli-ahli serta pekerja-pekerja yang terlibat dalam aktiviti kesatuan sekerja yang dianjurkan secara sah. Antaranya:

1. Pekerja-pekerja yang berpiket di hadapan bangunan Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) bagi menuntut hak kebajikan dan hak-hak masa dalam satu piket telah dikenakan tindakan disiplin. Presiden KTMB telah memecat Presiden Kesatuan pekerja-pekerjaKeretapi Tanah Melayu (RUM-Abdul Razak Md Hassan), dan Naib Presiden-R. Subramaniam bersamaan dengan 41 pekerja lain dan 27 orang lagi digantung dari kerja kerana mengambil bahagian dalam piket tersebut.

2. Manakala Presiden Kesatuan Kebangsaan Penerbangan Atendan Malaysia (NUFAM) Ismail Nasaruddin telah dipecat oleh Malaysia Airlines System Berhad (MAS) kerana telah mengeluarkan kenyataan media. Beliau telah dihentikan dengan alasan bahawa ia adalah salah laku bagi seseorang pekerja untuk mengeluarkan Pernyataan tersebut. Setiausaha Agungnya-Mohd Akram Osman bersama lima ahli kesatuan lain juga telah ditamatkan perkhidmatan kerana terlibat dalam aktiviti kesatuan.

3. Naib Presiden NUBE-Abdul Jamil Jalaludeen dan bendaharinya-Chen Ka Fatt telah ditamatkan perkhidmatan atas alasan terlibat dalam aktiviti kesatuan oleh pihak pengurusan bank.

4. Seterusnya RENESAS telah memecat Wan Noorulazhar bin Mohd Hanafiah, Presiden Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Barat, Semenanjung Malaysia (EIEUWR), kerana menyuarakan dan membangkitkan hak-hak pekerjaserta ketidakadilan pekerja dalam kumpulan Facebook tertutup kesatuan.

5. Seterusnya penyerahan memorandum Kongres Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia (MTUC) kepada calon yang akan bertanding dalam Pilihan raya Umum bagi mendapatkan sokongan terhadap hak-hak pekerja, 18 anggota kesatuan dari Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Perusahaan Alat-alat Pengangkutan dan Sekutu (NUTEAIW) telah dipecat oleh anak syarikat DRB HICOM di Pekan, Pahang termasuk Pengerusi Bahagian MTUC Pahang Sdra. Rusaini Ramli telah dipecat.

6. Presiden Kesatuan Kebangsaan Wartawan (NUJ), Mohamed Hatta Wahari, Timbalan Presiden, Ketua Cawangan Amran Ahmad dan Timbalan Setiausaha Norazri Abdul Rahman telah dipecat oleh Utusan Melayu(M) Bhd bagi mengeluarkan kenyataan media.

7. Presiden kesatuan, 17 pemimpin kesatuan  dan pekerja-pekerja dari Kesatuan Kakitangan Pekerja-Pekerja Pelabuhan Barat telah dipecat oleh majikan kerana melibatkan diri dalam aktiviti kesatuan.

8. Bagi melakukan piket di hadapan Syarikat Ansell NP Melaka, yang menuntut hak kebajikan pekerja, Majikan Syarikat Ansell NP telah memecat Timbalan Pengerusi Cawangan (NUECMRP) dan 9 ahli kesatuan yang mengambil bahagian dalam piket tersebut.

9. Presiden dan Setiausaha Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja Trinekiens telah dipecat bagi mengeluarkan pekeliling kesatuan untuk boikot Sambutan Hari Keluarga.

Senarai-senarai diatas adalah beberapa kes di mana pekerja telah dipecat dan diambil tindakan disiplin oleh majikan-majikan mereka kerana penglibatan mereka dalam aktiviti-aktiviti kesatuan.

Akta Perhubungan Perusahaan 1967, seksyen 5 memperjelaskan bahawa:
The Industrial Relations Act 1967, section 5 – Prohibition on employers and their trade unions in respect of certain acts’ provides that ‘…(1) No employer or trade union of employers, and no person action on behalf of an employer or such trade union shall-(a) impose any condition in a contract of employment seeking to restrain the right of a person who is a party to the contract to join a trade union, or to continue his membership in a trade union;(b) refuse to employ any person on the ground that he is or is not a member or an officer of a trade union;(c) discriminate against any person in regard to employment, promotion, any condition of employment or working conditions on the ground that he is or is not a member or officer of a trade union;(d) dismiss or threaten to dismiss a workman, injure or threaten to injure him in his employment or alter or threaten to alter his position to his prejudice by reason that the workman- (i) is or proposes to become, or seeks to persuade any other person to become, a member or officer of a trade union; or (ii) participates in the promotion, formation or activities of a trade union; or (e) induce a person to refrain from becoming or to cease to be a member or officer of a trade union by conferring or offering to confer any advantage on or by procuring or offering to procure any advantage for any person….’ Peruntukan ini kini memberi perlindungan terhadap pemecatan, tindakan disiplin dan/atau diskriminasi terhadap ahli kesatuan tetapi didapati masih tidak memadai.

Kerajaan sering melaungkan keharmonian industri, dan mempromosikan penggunaan mekanisme aduan tetapi ketidakadilan sering berlaku kerana peniaga-peniaga dan majikan terus mementingkan keuntungan, manakala pekerja-pekerja diberhentikan dibiarkan merana tanpa pekerjaan dan pendapatan yang menjejaskan kebajikan dan kesejahteraan pekerja dan keluarga mereka. Proses bagi menyelesaikan kes pemberhentian  mengambil waktu bertahun-tahun untuk diselesaikan dan ramai dikalangan mereka tidak dapat kembali ke jawatan mereka pada peringkat akhir penyelesaian.

Pendaftaran kesatuan dan pengiktirafan mengambil masa terlalu lama, apatah lagi majikan  membuat permohonan bagi semakkan kehakiman dan rayuan kepada mahkamah. Kelewatan ini, tertangguh bertahun-tahun dan sekaligus menafikan hak pekerja dari tertakluk kepada fungsi penuh KESATUAN SEKERJA dan memperolehi manfaat dari Perjanjian Bersama.

Apa yang paling membimbangkan ialah beberapa tindakan ‘union busting‘ sedang dilakukan oleh syarikat-syarikat milik kerajaan Malaysia atau syarikat yang ada hubungkait seperti KTMB, MAS, WESTPORT dan DRB-HICOM.

OLEH YANG DEMIKIAN, KAMI MENYERU SUHAKAM, MAJLIS PEGUAM NEGARA DAN SEMUA KUMPULANHAK ASASI MANUSIA BERGABUNG BERSAMA BAGI MENYERU KERAJAAN MALAYSIA UNTUK:

1. Mengakhiri segala bentuk aktiviti union busting, dan menghormati serta promosi hak-hak asasi pekerja;

2. Memperkenalkan lebih undang-undang yang lebih berkesan yang akan menghalang majikan dari melakukan ‘union busting‘, memecat atau mengambil tindakan disiplin terhadap pemimpin-pemimpin kesatuan dan ahli kesatuan yang menyertai kegiatan kesatuan. Majikan harus menghentikan tindakan mengambil tindakan undang-undang dan disiplin terhadap pemimpin dan ahli kesatuan yang melakukan aktiviti-aktiviti kesatuan, mempromosikan hak-hak pekerja, dan berjuang menegakkan ketidakadilan di tempat kerja;

3. Salah laku Pekerjaan perlu secara tegas dihadkan kepada salah laku yang berkaitan dengan tempat kerja, dan bukannya menghalang kegiatan kesatuan dan pekerja yang menuntut hak serta menegakkan keadilan atau mempromosikan hak asasi pekerja;

4. Memulihkan dan mengambil semula kerja semua pemimpin kesatuan dan anggota yang telah dipecat, ditamatkan kerja, dihentikan, digantung kerja dan dikenakan tindakan disiplin kerana terlibat dalam aktiviti kesatuan;

5. Mempercepatkan proses pendaftaran dan pengiktirafan kesatuan sekerja;

6. Mempercepatkan proses menyelesaikan pertikaian perhubungan perusahaan dan kes-kes pemberhentian kerja serta salahlaku;

7. Menamatkan segala bentuk kegiatan UNION BUSTING.
Bagi maklumat lanjut sila hubungi Sdra. N. Gopal Kishnam (Setiausaha Agung MTUC) H/P: 019-3174717.
Source: MTUC Website

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Serious Lack Of Concern For Workers In Budget 2015?

A Serious Lack Of Concern For Workers In Budget 2015
 
It is a sad day for workers in Malaysia, more so for those in the private sector, when our Prime Minister, in his Budget 2015 speech seem to have forgotten to make serious allocations to end the exploitation and precarious state that workers and unions find themselves in today.

Workers should have been a major priority in light of the US State Department Trafficking in Persons Report 2014, which downgraded Malaysia to Tier 3 from the previous standing of Tier 2 Watch List, and the main reason was because of worker exploitation.

Workers should have been a major priority when Malaysia was ranked among the worst countries in the world to work in, according to the recently released International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) Global Rights Index

Minimum Wage – Only 3 Employers Taken To Court?

Malaysia’s priority has been, and maybe still is, to draw in the foreign investor to invest in Malaysia, and one of thing that Malaysia offered was cheap docile labour. Even when it came to basic minimum wages, it was only finally in 2012 that Malaysia made it mandatory, but even then so many employers were given exemptions by the government, and the finally all workers in Malaysia became fully entitled to receive minimum wage on 1 January 2014.

But even recently, the Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib stated that about 10,000 employers in the private sector have yet to implement the Minimum Wage Scheme since it was enforced on 1st January.(Malay Mail, 20/9/2014, Malaysia Nearly 10,000 employers yet to implement Minimum Wage Scheme)

The Deputy Minister tried to belittle this failure to protect workers by stating that this was only five per cent of the 200,000 employers – but the real question is how many thousands or millions of workers have been denied this right to get a basic wage of RM900 per month in Peninsular Malaysia, or RM800 per month for those in Sabah and Sarawak which rightly they should have been enjoying since latest July 2013, if not by reason of the exemptions granted to certain employers and also the lack of enforcements. The disturbing fact is that only 3 employers out that 10,000 have been taken to court. I would want to believe, that this lack of enforcement and taking of action against errant employers could only be by reason of lack of human resources and resources in the Human Resource Ministry. I would not want to believe that this was because of a lack of political will or a ‘pro-employer – not bothered about workers’ policy of the Malaysian government. 
Hence, there should have been a big budget allocation so that there be more enforcement, investigative and prosecuting officers in the Ministry of Human Resources so that the Minister would be able to come back in 2015 and tell us all those 10,000 errant employers have been taken to court, and all the affected workers have received all the outstanding backwages and payments due.

Propagating an environment of worker exploitation?

The Deputy Minister suggested that workers should lodge complaints – but alas, workers are just too afraid for worry that their employers would simply terminate them if they do so. What is needed is active enforcement, and this means the Human Resource Ministry officials must take an active proactive role to ensure that all employers are actually paying their workers basic minimum wages, and respecting all worker rights and the law.

We find that even in 2014, save for capitals of States and Federal Territories, there is not even an Industrial Relations Department(IRD) in all the towns, and this is the place a worker who wrongfully gets dismissed will go to lodge complaints. To expect a worker to travel 100 plus kilometers to lodge a complaint about wrongful dismissal and claim justice may lead one to the conclusion that the government really is not interested in justice for workers. Remember the meetings for conciliation is also there. Unemployed and with no income makes it a real burden for workers.
There are also still no Industrial Courts in most  States, when it really should be available not just in capitals but also reasonably sized towns – where it should be easy for workers and their witnesses, who are usually other workers, to be able to come to court easily. There are currently Industrial Courts only in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Perak, Johor, Sabah and Sarawak when really it should be there at least in every town which we have a High Court.
Again, there was no budget allocations so that we can set up IRD offices in all towns, and Industrial Courts in each and every State to make it easier for workers to claim justice. 

No Allocation For Legal Aid For Workers Claiming Rights

At the Human Resource Departments (or Labour Office), workers can go and lodge complaints against employers for non-payment of wages, overtime, rest days and various other violation of worker rights – but the fact is that the ordinary workers really needs legal assistance to be able formulate and quantify their claim, and more important prove their claim in the Labour Court if and when attempts of reconciliation fails and it proceeds to trial. 
In most cases, the employers are represented by lawyers or persons familiar with labour law, whilst workers are unrepresented and this unfairness prevents workers from getting justice.  Legal Aid is needed for workers before and when they submit their claims and when they have to prove their claims, and the government can provide resources to make this legal assistance for workers available. There should have been budget allocation for legal aid for workers, maybe also for para-legal training for unionist to enable them also to be able assist workers in their quest for justice.

Inadequacy Of Officers And Courts Delays Justice

Access to justice for workers is there in the Industrial Relations Department and the Human Resource (Labour) Department, and if unresolved by conciliation by the Labour Courts or the Industrial Courts – and the biggest complaints by workers and trade unions is slowness of the entire process. A wrongful dismissal case can take several years which is most detrimental to justice, remembering that the worker and their families are the ones suffering while the employer happily carries one with their business and profit making. Again, this state of affairs can only be because of the lack of officers, judges, IRD offices and even courts, and there should have been a substantial budget allocation to improve this situation to demonstrate that Malaysia is indeed truly concerned about workers.
In the middle of October 2014, we have the case in Johor where a factory closed down leaving over 500 workers stranded with no job or income, most of them also not having been paid for several months, one wonders whether there is enough officers to speedily investigate, tabulate the claims and get justice for these workers. If there was regular enforcement, this could have been avoided. 
 
Should there not be greater allocation for the Ministry of Human Resource to be able to become more capable in ensuring justice be done speedily?
Government Failure in Curbing Precarious Employment Jeopardizes Employment and Financial Security for Worker and Families
The Malaysian government failed to ensure that workers continued to enjoy regular employment until retirement – hence opening the doors to more precarious forms of employment like fixed term or short term contracts and the ‘contractor for labour system’. The later allows workplaces to be able to use workers of third parties hence able to avoid employer obligations and duties for after all these 3rd party workers are not their employees. Thanks to these, without employment security, workers so easily lose their jobs and become unemployed maybe not for long but maybe until they find a new job, and the government has to really provide for a government unemployment benefit scheme because today monthly financial commitments continue and without income, it is so easy for workers and their families financial situation to slide affecting general wellbeing of the family 

Growing income and benefits for workers will be guaranteed by regular employment until retirement. On the other hand, precarious short-term employment contracts and the contractor for labour system throws the worker out in the employment market repeatedly forcing them to find new jobs whereby this may mean income and benefits may actually decrease or even stagnate.

Wasted Skills By Reason of Precarious Employment

The government talks about getting more skilled workers, and skill is also achieved at the workplace. A worker in the electronic industry who has gained skills is let go after his 9 months contract expires despite the fact that the workplace still requires workers. The worker then is forced to find another job when there may be no other nearby electronics factory hiring and the worker ends up employed in a totally different industry – hence a loss of all the skills obtained in his prior employment.

Budget 2015 – Private sector workers not a priority and no financial allocations?

Well, looking at paragraph 96 in the Prime Minister’s speech talked about reviewing labour laws, something that the government has always been talking about and most amendments of late have generally not been helpful to workers or their unions. He talks about an ‘employment Insurance System aimed at assisting retrenched workers by giving temporary financial assistance as well as providing opportunities for reskilling and upskilling’ – but what about other employed workers by reason of end of their short-term employment contracts, those who have been allegedly wrongfully dismissed by employers and those who escape exploitative employers or maybe even sexual harassment who are unemployed through resignation. 
Oddly, there is no mention of any money that was allocated for this at all or even a time frame for implementation. 
He talks about the JobsMalaysia portal, when really what workers want is employment security which will generally provide increasing income and benefits, and most importantly financial stability for the worker and their families. 
There is a provision for educational and vocational training of RM30 million for Indian youth, but I would feel in 2014, we should not be talking about this with an ethnic condition. What about other youths?

Low Interest Loans For Private Sector Employees - MBSB
Private sector workers also need to get homes, and unlike public sector employees who have access to low interest loans, no provision for such loans is made available to private sector workers. Now, the money of the private sector workers are in the Employees Provident Fund(EPF), who at present owns about 65% of the shares in Malaysian Building Society Berhad(MBSB), which provides housing loan. Maybe, this could be used to provide housing loans at the same terms as what is now available to public sector employees.

We Want Rights Not Discretionary ‘Handouts’

In this budget, the government continues to treat Malaysians, including workers, like 'beggars' through uncertain financial assistance like the BR1M which is not a guaranteed right, but something that depends on the discretion of the government. We may have it in 2015 but in 2016 may be no more. Malaysians prefer not to be dependent on such ‘charity’ but would rather prefer employment and financial security.

Workers And The Marginalized Must Be Priority

Malaysian government must never forget that it serves all of us here in Malaysia, and priority should really be given to the poor and marginalized – workers included. Like Malaysia, workers desire economic and financial stability – whereby regular employment until retirement will guarantee increasing income and benefits that grows with tenure. When denied of rights or exploited, they demand speedy justice. Workers also need active proactive enforcement by officers of the Human Resource Ministry, just like our police and Local Council Workers are doing to catch drivers who fail to display their parking tickets. Workers also need Unemployment Benefits when they are in a state of unemployment. But alas, the Budget speech seems to have failed to address the concerns of the majority of workers, especially those in the private sector.

If this does not change, Malaysia may very well continue to be listed as one of the worst countries for workers and trade unions.

WORKERS WALK 2014: Protest Against Union Busting

WORKERS WALK 2014: Protest Against Union Busting

October 20 @ 9:30 am - 11:30 am

Event Navigation


Workers Walk 2014
Protest Against Union Busting
10.00am, 20 Oktober 2014 (Isnin)
Organised by: Local Unionist Networks (LUN) & MTUC SELANGOR DIV

Source: MTUC Website

TM again fails to restore service within 24 hours... 3 days now (and not even a call or SMS updating the consumer)?

Again, TM's internet and phone service disruption since 16 October 2014 - 72 hours now {Not even a call from the TM Technician]

When we call and inform, the assurance is within 24 hours - but then ....

The same thing happened on 16 September 2014 - and we got back the service only after 9 days - after I finally complained to the Ministry of Communication and Multimedia [2 hours after the complaint, 3 calls came from Telekom, the contractor and the service was back.... in a day

8 days without Internet/Phone - Telekom Malaysia Inefficient? - Informed Ministry - Hope service is restored soon

TM fails to restore phone/internet service to kampung folks - 6 Days and still waiting??

 header bm
But this time, when I tried to get access to the Ministry/s compaint page, I saw this 

The Page Requested Temporary Not Available For Access We are encountering some error while accessing the page requested. Kindly contact your system administrator and provide us with the following key,
null
We apologies for any inconvenience causes.  

So, I had to use the FEEDBACK PAGE, and hope that the person responsible tells the Minister:-  "Please communicate my complaint to the relevant department... "

After calling 100, we find that not even an SMS or a phone call from TM or their technician when they cannot restore service before the lapse of 24 hours. To date, no call back.



MESSAGE TO INFORM CALLER OF SERVICE DISRUPTION

When service is disrupted, when people call the number, they hear the phone ringing and no one is picking it up - at least TM should insert a phone message to state that there is a phone service disruption message = if not the impression people get is that we are avoiding calls - so rude.

Please exert pressure on TM to immediately restore service - the affected phone number of mine is 09 - 2777 267.

BILLING - TM should immediately provide rebates/deduction of the Bills when service disruption is longer than 24 hours - now, they require us to again call 100 and deal with the Billing Department. TM knows when these disruption happens, so there is no logic for the consumer to have to call again to claim these rebates/deductions...

The problem with 'cable cuts' is getting frequent - wonder whether this has got any correlation with the contractors of TM. Are they indirectly doing this, to generate more work - more income - and maybe even better payments for subsequent contracts. Why is there a rise of phone cable thefts?





POLICE INVESTIGATION
 
Surely, it is not too difficult for the police to investigate this. Who buys phone cables? Since there is only TM - it may only be purchased by TM and/or some of its contractors. A check with their acquisition and usage records would be able to eliminate the innocent...

Copper in the cable - well, again people who buy copper and materials found in phone cables is limited...

So, it is reasonable for the police to be able to speedily investigate and come up with positive results.

BURY the TM Cables - that will make thefts more difficult - maybe a solution to resolving this issue...

UNIFORMS and vehicles marked clearly as TM - now many of these contractors are using no uniform and have no specifically marked vehicles - so when we see people climbing the TM poles, we really would not know whether they are officially TM staff - or some 'cable thief' or saboteur

Friday, October 17, 2014

More than 2,000 in Malaysian Bar's Walk in Protest of the Sedition Act - Open Memo to PM submitted

There were certainly more than 2,000, whereby lawyers made up about 90%, in the Malaysian Bar's Walk For Peace and Harmony on this hot morning of Thursday, 16th October, 2014. (The Malaysian Bar estimates 2,500, the Bar President estimates at least 1,500 lawyers, Malaysikini says 'almost 1,000', Malaysian Insider says 'hundreds of lawyers' - it certainly would have been to ascertain, as the group was spread out over a really large area, and one really could not see where the crowd ended..) This Walk is what the lawyers wanted at an EGM that was attended by 986 lawyers, far exceeding the required quorum of 500 on 19/9/2014. The Resolution was adopted by an overwhelming majority, and those against it was 13. [see - Malaysian Bar Resolution against the Sedition Act, other laws and actions taken which stifle speech and expression, and matters in connection therewith]

"We are here to claim back democratic public space. We are here to say as much as you try, you can’t stifle speech. You can’t stop expression of thought by thinking Malaysians.

“We are here this morning in the sun, in the car park, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur not for ourselves alone. We do this not for our friends alone, we do this not for our families alone, we do this not for our fellow Malaysians alone but for the future generations of Malaysia.

‎“The Sedition Act is a law specifically designed to shut you up and we have seen the unprecedented use of this abusive act in the last three months against, students, law professors, lawyers, journalists, members of civil society, members of parliament and members of state assemblies.

“We demand the government to abide by its pledge to repeal the Sedition Act.”- Christopher Leong, Malaysian Bar President, 16/10/2014
The action of the Malaysian Bar generated much support even before the Walk - see  Malaysian lawyers ready to walk against Sedition Act at 10.30am, 16 October 2014 

The march began at Padang Merbok at about 11.30am, and headed to the Parliament, which was about 1.4 Km away, whereby thereafter the Bar delegation presented the Memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister. The Open Memorandum is as follows. Below also is some news reports about the event. 




Open memorandum to the Prime Minister of Malaysia — Malaysian Bar October 16, 2014

OCTOBER 16 —

1.   The Malaysian Bar has walked to Parliament today as part of our on-going campaign for the repeal of the Sedition Act 1948.  It is in order to rid ourselves of an unjust law and unneeded crutch, and for the realisation of a better Malaysia. 

2.   The Malaysian Bar’s walk today is called the “Walk for Peace and Freedom” because we wish to promote a peace anchored by bonds of unity, lasting harmony and true mutual respect amongst Malaysians.  We walk for the freedom from fear and intimidation; freedom from extremism; freedom from divisiveness; freedom from exploitation for personal, sectarian and selfish gains; freedom to question, criticise, discuss and debate; freedom to learn; and freedom to grow and mature.

3.   The Sedition Act 1948 is inherently flawed.  It is designed to subjugate, suppress and oppress.  It is NOT designed to promote peace, harmony and unity.  As a piece of criminal legislation, it is repugnant to the rule of law because it punishes freedom of speech and expression of thought by the use of imprecise and ill-defined offences.  It does not require any proof of ill intention or intention to create disorder.  Truth is not a defense.  Hence, the Sedition Act 1948 in fact criminalises the truth.

4.   The Walk for Peace and Freedom is part of the Malaysian Bar’s response to Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s call for all right thinking and moderate Malaysians to stand up and speak out.  The Malaysian Bar walks so as to give voice to such Malaysians.

Malaysia’s Transformation

5.   On 3 April 2009, when Dato’ Sri Najib Razak became Prime Minister, he announced a series of freedom-enlarging measures.  He removed the temporary ban on two news publications.  He released 13 detainees from detention under the Internal Security Act 1960.  He announced the conducting of a comprehensive review of the Internal Security Act 1960.  He declared that “[t]hese decisions are timely as we move to enhance the confidence of our citizens in those entrusted with maintaining peace, law and order, while recognizing the need to remain vigilant of the very real security threats we continue to face as a young nation.”1 

6.   On the eve of Malaysia Day 2011, 15 September 2011, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak took the bold step of announcing that the Internal Security Act 1960 and three Emergency Declarations would be repealed at the next sitting of the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Negara.  The Banishment Act 1959 and the Restricted Residence Act 1933 would also be repealed.  He also announced that the government would amend the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 to do away with annual printing and publishing permits.  The Police Act 1967 would be amended to allow for freedom of assembly, wherein the requirement for a permit or permission to assemble in public would be repealed.  These announcements were implemented.  

7.   Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak had in April 2012 also introduced amendments to the Universities and University Colleges Act 1971 to allow for a broader measure of freedom of expression and association by university students.  These came into force in August 2012.

8.   Following on from these significant developments, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak had on 11 July 2012 announced that the government would repeal the Sedition Act 1948 and replace it with a National Harmony Act.  He stated the following in his speech delivered at the “Majlis Makan Malam Jabatan Peguam Negara Bersama YAB Perdana Menteri”:

“Kerajaan telah membuat keputusan agar Akta Hasutan 1948 dimansuhkan dan digantikan dengan suatu rang undang undang yang dikenali sebagai Akta Keharmonian Nasional.  Keputusan menggantikan Akta Hasutan dibuat kerana kita mahu mencari mekanisme yang dapat menentukan keseimbangan terbaik diantara keperluan menjamin kebebasan bersuara setiap warganegara sesuai dan selaras dengan peruntukan dan jaminan yang terkandung di dalam Perlembangan Pesekutuan dan keperluan untuk menangani kompleksiti kemajmukan yang wujud dinegara ini.  With this new Act we would be better equipped to manage our national fault lines. It would also help to strengthen national cohesion by protecting national unity and nurturing religious harmony….

Kerajaan sedar bahawa umum menganggap Akta Hasutan 1948 sebagai alat kerajaan untuk merencatkan tindakan dan pandangan yang tidak sealiran dengan kerajaan.  Walaupun anggapan sedemikian adalah tidak berasas sama sekali, kita perlu menghapuskan persepsi tersebut.  Lantaran itu, peruntukan-peruntukan baru ini tidak akan menghalang rakyat untuk mengkritik kerajaan dan pentadbiran keadilan….

Pada analisis akhirnya saya teringat kepada pendapat ahli falsafah tersohor Britain, John Locke: “The end of law is, not to abolish or restrain, but to preserve and enlarge freedom”.  Second Treatise Of Civil Government (1690)….

Melalui pemansuhan dan penggubalan undang-undang yang sedang berjalan, kerajaan mahu memastikan ruang demokratik yang mencukupi disediakan untuk perbezaan pendapat serta persaingan idea.  Pucuk pangkalnya, kita mahu mencipta sebuah Malaysia di mana prinsip hak asasi manusia dijunjung, kebebasan individu untuk menyatakan pendapat secara terbuka diraikan, seraya kepentingan individu dan komuniti diimbangi.”
9.   The Malaysian Bar supports Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s programme of progressive and systematic reform and political transformation as set out above.  His thinking and instincts are correct, and we call upon Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak to remain steadfast and to persevere and continue with them.

Evils of the Sedition Act 1948 

10. In this regard, we would point out that the Sedition Act 1948, as with its predecessor the Sedition Ordinance, was conceived by our then colonial masters and used as an instrument of oppression.  It is an archaic and repressive law, and is the antithesis of democracy, rule of law, justice and human rights.

11. The Sedition Act 1948 has been used to stifle speech and expression, to shut out contrary views and voices, to quell dissent and opposition, to constrict and deny democratic space, and to oppress and suppress Malaysians.

12. The Sedition Act 1948 has been justified on the premise that there are matters that are too sensitive to address, speak about or debate; and that this particular legislation is therefore required to ensure and maintain harmony, unity and public order.  Our 57 years of “Merdeka” has clearly shown this to be a myth.

13. The Sedition Act 1948 has instead served to deter or prevent important issues from being properly and genuinely addressed.  Some of these issues are effectively “swept under the carpet” and allowed to fester.  This legislation serves to perpetuate and entrench the racial, religious and other fault lines in our nation. It thus undermines and is counter-productive to efforts to build lasting peace and harmony, strong bonds of unity and real mutual respect in Malaysia.

14. It is no answer to say that we could improve on its use and implementation to avoid abuse. Our history of such oppressive laws, including the Internal Security Act 1960 (since repealed), has shown us that such laws are frequently abused irrespective of their stated purpose. The recent “sedition blitz” where the Sedition Act 1948 has been used to probe and/or prosecute students, law academics, lawyers, a journalist, members of civil society, Members of Parliament and State Assemblypersons is a glaring example of such abuse. To compound the problem, there are clear instances of selective prosecution. The lesson we learn is that the justness in the use of such laws cannot be dependent on the good faith of the authorities. Laws must in themselves be good and just. The Sedition Act 1948 is not such a law.

15. The statements of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak on his 1Malaysia blog dated 7 August 2012 and 4 April 2013 are to the Malaysian Bar an express recognition by the Malaysian Government that the Sedition Act 1948 is indeed an obsolete and antiquated law that is no longer suitable, relevant or consonant with the times.

An Inclusive Malaysia  

16. The Malaysian Bar further recalls the speech of Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City on 26 September 2014 where he said:

“[W]e must pursue a different kind of politics…We must break the cycle where one group gains power only to wield it against the other.  Where marginalisation leads to radicalisation, as people lose confidence in the state’s ability to provide both security and co-existence.  Individuals and ethnic and religious groups need to feel they have a stake in a nation’s success, not its failure.  So we should commit to more inclusive politics.”  

17. In the same speech, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak also said that, “By demonstrating moderation in the political process, we can ensure no-one is left outside society.”

18. The Malaysian Bar could not agree more with Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak’s words on “inclusive politics”.  The fundamental freedoms of speech and expression, giving voice to thoughts and ideas, as well as the right to information, are fundamental attributes of a vibrant and thriving democracy, and that are essential for the development, progress and growth of a nation.  It is robust debate, diversity of opinion and education that would ultimately promote, inculcate and maintain true and enduring unity, goodwill and mutual respect amongst Malaysians.

19. In the same speech at the United Nations, Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak said that, “Malaysia stands ready to share its experience of marginalising extremism, maintaining a multi-religious country, where different faiths coexist and prosper.”

20. It cannot be that Malaysia’s sharing of its experience in fostering moderation is that of restricting freedom of speech and expression, arresting, investigating, intimidating and charging individuals under the Sedition Act 1948.  It is precisely the clamping down on views, discourse and expression, and restricting democratic space, under the guise of the Sedition Act 1948, that has the effect of pandering to and encouraging extremist elements, and fomenting disunity and disharmony.   21. It is the use and abuse of the Sedition Act 1948 that has further served to impede the development of a mature, considerate and accepting Malaysian psyche; and perpetuates immaturity; lack of understanding; confusion and ignorance amongst Malaysians; and exploits insecurities, anxieties and fears.

22. The Sedition Act 1948 has no place in our nation, which aspires to be a modern, moderate and progressive democratic society that seeks to respect the rule of law and to engender lasting harmony and unity. The continued existence and use of this legislation only serves to prolong an addiction to a reliance on its draconian provisions as a knee-jerk reaction to expressions of purportedly sensitive issues and dissenting views.

23. We should instead be providing and promoting an environment where Malaysians engage one another in discourse and debate, questions and queries are answered, and criticisms are met with explanations; an environment where we can learn to transform into an inclusive, moderate, harmonious and unified Malaysia.

24. As the Sultan of Perak, His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzudin Shah said in his speech at the University Malaya 53rd Convocation held on 13 October 2014, 

“… Minda terbuka dapat memerdekakan jiwa individu daripada sebarang prejudis dan buruk sangka. Minda terbuka akan mengupayakan seseorang memahami malah menghormati pandangan pihak lain betapa berlainan sekalipun. Minda terbuka akan menyuburkan perasaan sabar dan toleransi untuk bersedia mendengar hujah yang berbeza betapa sekali tidak dipersetujui. Minda terbuka akan memberikan ruang untuk membolehkan lahir dan tumbuhnya idea baru, menyemarakkan budaya inovasi dan menyuburkan minda kreatif. Minda terbuka adalah komponen amat penting untuk membantu mengukuhkan amalan demokrasi di dalam sesebuah negara… 

…Malah minda terbuka adalah faktor yang telah memungkinkan tertubuhnya sebuah negara bangsa melalui kejayaan mencantumkan rakyat daripada pelbagai agama, negeri, kaum, budaya dan bahasa menjadi satu warga kepada sebuah negara Malaysia yang merdeka; minda terbuka juga berjaya menyatukan matlamat di kalangan sembilan Raja yang bersemayam di istana dengan rakyat jelata di serata kota dan desa. Nyatalah minda terbuka adalah aset sementara minda tertutup adalah liabiliti.”

(Our translation: “…Open-mindedness liberates the spirit of an individual from any form of prejudice or ill-will. Open-mindedness enables one to understand and respect the views of others no matter how contrarian they may be. Open-mindedness enables patience and tolerance to be able to listen to dissenting views no matter how disagreeable they may be… 

…Open-mindedness is the factor that has made possible the establishment of a nation by the successful union of people of diverse religions, states, ethnicities, culture and language to form an independent country called Malaysia; open-mindedness also achieved unity of purpose among nine Rajas who reside in the palace with the citizens of all the cities and the countryside. Clearly, open-mindedness is an asset whereas close- mindedness is a liability.”)

Towards a Peaceful, United and Harmonious Malaysia

25. Lasting harmony and unity requires a lot of hard work, patience, understanding and education; not suppression, prosecution and punishment.  Yes, the process could be long and would be painful; we will fumble and make mistakes, even serious mistakes, but we will learn and move forward.  It is folly to think and believe that the Sedition Act 1948 or laws similar to it are the answers to promote, inculcate and maintain true lasting harmony and unity.  How wrong and misconceived can we be to believe that force and punishment would engender respect and goodwill.  It instead impedes learning, discourse, growth and maturity.

26. We therefore have grave concerns that the intended National Harmony Act should not seek to recast the Sedition Act 1948 either in whole or in part.  We recognise that no freedom is without limits.  Thus, incitements to, threats of or acts of racial or religious violence, and bringing into hatred the Royal Institution, are not acceptable in Malaysia.

27. These could, however, be dealt with by other legislation.  The intended National Harmony Act or any replacement legislation by any other name should not seek to criminalise thought, speech and expression. It should instead provide a framework that recognises and encourages interaction, discourse, debate and learning.  If there is to be a need for some measure of criminal penalties, then such measures must be limited – unlike the provisions of the Sedition Act 1948 that are imprecise and, also unlike other criminal offences, the Sedition Act 1948 does not require mens rea, that is the element of intent – the scope of the new offences must be narrowly defined and confined, and the threshold for breach must be set higher. Only threats of or incitement to, and actual ethnic or religious violence to persons or property should be criminalised, and the element of intention must be present.

28. A copy of the Resolution of the Malaysian Bar calling on the Malaysian Government to abolish the Sedition Act 1948 that was passed at its Extraordinary General Meeting on 19 September 2014 is attached for further information and reference.  The Resolution was passed by an overwhelming majority of those who attended the Extraordinary General Meeting.  The Resolution sets out in detail the way in which the Sedition Act 1948 has been abused, recounts the recent and unprecedented wave of arrests, investigations and charges, calls for the immediate repeal of the Sedition Act 1948 and the dropping of all action thereunder, and supports the proposed National Harmony legislation. 

29. The Malaysian Bar recognises that Islam is the religion of the Federation and other religions may be practised in peace and harmony; the special positions of the Malays and natives of any of the States of Sabah and Sarawak and the legitimate interests of other communities; and the sovereignty of the Rulers — these are clearly set out in the Federal Constitution.  The Malaysian Bar upholds the Federal Constitution as the supreme law of the land.  The call to repeal the Sedition Act 1948 is not a challenge to those provisions.

30. The Royal Institution, for example, is an integral and important part of our nation-building.  Malaysians look to the Rulers to be Rulers and champions for all Malaysians, and not only for a segment of Malaysians. 

31. There are extremist and irresponsible elements in our society.  They spread misinformation, use intimidation and divisiness. They exploit fear and insecuritites.  They seek to drive a wedge between Malaysians and polarise us.  
Do not allow them to succeed.

32. The Malaysian Bar recalls the preamble to the Rukun Negara: we are a nation dedicated to achieving a greater unity of all her peoples; seeking to maintain a democratic way of life; creating a just society; ensuring a liberal approach to Malaysia’s rich and diverse cultural traditions; and building a progressive society and nation.

33. The Malaysian Bar therefore urges Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Razak and the Malaysian Government to continue to commit to and promote the building of a fair, just, harmonious, unified, moderate and progressive Malaysia, and reject all forms of bigotry, racist and religious extremism; to stay the course and to abide by its original and oft-repeated public pledge and promise to repeal the Sedition Act 1948. 

* Christopher Leong is the President of the Malaysian Bar Council.
- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/what-you-think/article/open-memorandum-to-the-prime-minister-of-malaysia-malaysian-bar#sthash.0C1MKWKw.dpuf 


You can’t stifle speech, says Malaysian Bar president at start of anti-Sedition Act march
Friday, 17 October 2014 07:55am
Image©Malay Mail (Used by permission)
by Ida Lim and Yiswaree Palansamy

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 ― They started gathering at the Padang Merbok carpark from before 10am and by the time the Malaysian Bar Council’s “Walk for Peace and Freedom” was slated to start, there was a crowd of about 200 lawyers andmembers from several non-government organisations.

Malaysian Bar president Chris Leong told the crowd, “We are here to claim back democratic public space. We are here to say as much as you try, you can’t stifle speech. You can’t stop expression of thought by thinking Malaysians.

“We are here this morning in the sun, in the car park, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur not for ourselves alone. We do this not for our friends alone, we do this not for our families alone, we do this not for our fellow Malaysians alone but for the future generations of Malaysia.

‎“The Sedition Act is a law specifically designed to shut you up and we have seen the unprecedented use of this abusive act in the last three months against, students, law professors, lawyers, journalists, members of civil society, members of parliament and members of state assemblies.

“We demand the government to abide by its pledge to repeal the Sedition Act.”

While waiting for the march to start, the energetic crowd chanted “Mansuh Akta Hasutan” and “Hidup Malaysia.”

Various members of the Bar Council like Steven Thiru, Firdaus Husni, Syahredzan Johan, and Richard Wee took turns to address the crowd which grew to about 400 people.

Steven, the Malaysian Bar’s vice-president, said Malaysians could no longer wait for the government to repeal the Sedition Act, noting that two years had passed since the prime minister pledged to repeal the colonial-era law.

“We are stand here today because we defy all forms of oppression, we defy all forms of injustice, we defy all forms of repression.

“We want the Sedition Act to be repealed, not tomorrow, now. We are not waiting for next year,” he said, reiterating his observation that the law has been used to the “hilt”.

Andrew Khoo, the co-chair of the Bar Council’s Human Rights Committee, noted that the United Nations is set to vote for new members into its Security Council — where Malaysia is vying for a spot.

“We must hold the government to account, If you want to play in the international stage, you must make sure the rule of law applies equally back home in your backyard.

“We will keep the pressure up. We will never relent until we have the abolition of the Sedition Act and rule of law in the country,” he told the lawyers gathered there in their black suits, with some wearing the Bar Council's blue caps made for the walk.

A high-spirited crowd numbering more than 1,000 — mostly lawyers — began their march at 11.40am in a peaceful and orderly manner from the Padang Merbok car park on Jalan Parlimen in the city centre, with the Bar Council’s marshals and police standing by on the pavements to help direct traffic.

They arrived in front of the Parliament building just a few hundred metres down the road at about noon.

Leong estimated that around 1,500 to 2,000 lawyers turned up for the march today.

In just nine months this year, 12 cases have been prosecuted under the Sedition Act ― the highest figure since 2009 ― raising alarm in civil society of Putrajaya’s perceived clampdown on dissent.

Eight cases were brought to trial under the Sedition Act in 2013, while only one case each made it to court in both 2009 and 2011; there was a complete absence of sedition charges during 2010 and 2012.

Today’s march will be just the fourth in the Malaysian Bar’s 67-year history.

Recent marches include the 2007 “Walk for Justice” and the 2011 “Walk for Freedom to Walk” over a judicial appointment scandal and the PAA Bill, respectively; both drew estimated crowds of between 1,000 and 2,000 people.- Malay Mail from Malaysian Bar Website


By Koh Jun Lin and Lee Long Hui

Lawyers march against Sedition Act 



Almost 1,000 protesters, mostly lawyers, marched to Parliament today against the Sedition Act 1948.

The protesters were seen milling about Padang Merbuk in the Kuala Lumpur city centre as early as 9.30am, and started their march at 11.40am after chanting slogans and hearing speeches by Bar Council representatives.


 
Among the prominent personalities present were Bar Council president Christopher Leong (right), former Bersih co-chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan, her successor Maria Chin Abdullah, Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general S Arulchelvan, Himpunan Hijau chief Wong Tack, and opposition parliamentarians Teo Nie Ching, Nga Kor Ming, R Sivarasa, Ong Kian Ming and Gobind Singh Deo.

The protest was organised by the Bar Council, with the support of the Malaysian Bar, which overwhelmingly voted in favour of holding the protest during an emergency general meeting on Sept 19.


However, according to the Malaysian Bar's estimate 2,500 people joined the march.

Dubbed “Walk for Peace and Freedom”, it is the fourth such protest held by the Bar Council in its 67-year history.


The last was in 2011 to oppose a bill that is now known that the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012.
  
A group of Orang Asli, dressed in traditional garments, and university students chanting for academic freedom, were also seen marching with the lawyers.

A small band – with guitar, didgeridoo, tambourine, and a small hand drum – played music while marching and at the sidewalk outside Parliament.

Police presence at the protest was light, mostly to direct traffic, with the help of Kuala Lumpur City Hall enforcement officers and the Bar Council’s own rally marshals.
 
Rally and counter-rally

Upon reaching the parliament, 10 Bar Council representatives led by Leong met with Minister in Prime Minister’s Department Mah Siew Keong, who received a memorandum from the protesters on behalf of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak

The temperature was a scorching 30 degrees Celsius, with little wind and scattered clouds.
 
Despite the heat, most of the lawyers were dressed in black jackets – their full court attire – and chanted slogans outside the parliament while waiting for their leaders to return.

“Long live the people! Abolish the Sedition Act!”, the protesters chanted, while carrying anti-Sedition Act banners and placards.

One particularly good-humoured placard read: “Bloody hell it’s hot. Abolish the Sedition Act and let’s go for ice cream.”

Representatives from journalist group Gerakan Media Marah (Geramm) were at the protest, along with a handful of off-duty journalists, following a call by the group to walk in solidarity with the lawyers.

Meanwhile a group of about 10 youths held a counter rally at the Bank Negara roundabout at the same time.

The group, with some wearing face masks, held placards with messages like 'Preserve Sedition Act'.


Protest is public feedback

At about 1pm, about an hour after entering Parliament, Leong emerged with his entourage to announce the protest a success.

“We have achieved what we have set out to do today, which is to convey our views on your behalf to the prime minister, via Minister Mah (Siew Keong),” he said, before thanking the participants for coming and the police for facilitating the protest.


 
Nevertheless, he vowed that the Bar Council will continue its campaign against the Sedition Act until it is abolished.

Leong repeated his speech at least three times, each time moving from one part of the crowd to another to address them via a megaphone.

Speaking to reporters later, Leong claimed that the number of lawyers who attended the protest number between 1,000 and 1,500, but is unsure how many non-lawyers participated.


Leong said that this walk is in response to the effort initiated by the prime minister to obtain public feedback on the abolition of the Sedition Act and its replacement.


He hoped the leader would remain steadfast and committed to his pledge and promise.


“As they say, ‘Janji Ditepati’ (Promise Fulfilled), so we hope that would be the case in this occasion,” he added.

The protesters dispersed peacefully at 1.15pm.- Malaysiakini, 16/10/2014,
Lawyers march against Sedition Act

Malaysian Bar marches against sedition


More than 600 lawyers gathered at Padang Merbok from 9.40am today for the ‘justice and freedom walk against the Sedition Act’. Leading them is Bar Council president Christopher Leong (centre). – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, October 16, 2014.More than 600 lawyers gathered at Padang Merbok from 9.40am today for the ‘justice and freedom walk against the Sedition Act’. Leading them is Bar Council president Christopher Leong (centre). – The Malaysian Insider pic by Afif Abd Halim, October 16, 2014. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For the fourth time in its history, the Malaysian Bar today rallied, this time, against the Sedition Act 1948 demanding that Putrajaya repeal the colonial-era law, which in recent weeks had been used against opposition politicians and activists.

In a fiery speech at the start, Bar Council president Christopher Leong said the act was created to shut people up and Putrajaya was using it just to do that.

“This is an unprecedented abuse against lawyers, students, journalist and civil society. We are here to claim back the democratic public place. As much as you may try, you cannot stop our freedom of expression, our thoughts. We will ask why," said Leong.

Despite the heat, hundreds of lawyers in suits gathered at Padang Merbok from 9.40am today for the “justice and freedom walk against the Sedition Act”. The Malaysian Bar previously walked in protest against the Peaceful Assembly Act in 2012, against allegations that judicial appointments were fixed in 2007 and amendments to the Societies Act in 1982.

The group began walking towards the Parliament at about 11.40am, with lawyers holding placards and banners, chanting "Hidup Hidup Rakyat" (Long live the people) and "Mansuh Mansuh Akta Hasutan" (Abolish Sedition Act).

About 10 of them will be going into the Parliament to hand over the memorandum to the representative of the Prime Minister's Department, calling for the Sedition Act to be abolished.

Leong said the group then met with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Mah Siew Keong and handed him the memorandum that called upon Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to repeal the Sedition Act as he had promised in 2012.

In the memorandum, the Malaysian Bar also urged Najib and Putrajaya to commit and promote the building of a fair, just, harmonious, unified, moderate, progressive Malaysia and reject all forms of bigotry, racist and religious extremism.

After the meeting, Leong, in a statement, admitted that changes would take time and said that the Bar Council would continue to play its role within the period.

"We are saying that you cannot punish people because they are expressing their thoughts, because you did not like what they said or because you did not agree with what they said.

"The Sedition Act is in fact a counter-productive measure to better Malaysian.”

He said the Malaysian Bar was aware that there were some fault-lines when it came to a multiracial country but the fault-lines should not be dealt using the act.

"We have to deal with it through dialogues and exchanging of ideas.”

Putrajaya embarked on a sedition blitz in recent weeks even after Najib had continued to give assurance that he would abolish the draconian law.

However, Putrajaya was also facing pressure from Umno grassroots and some Malay groups to retain the law, which they said would protect the position of the Malays, Islam and the monarchy.

The prime minister also appeared to renege on his promise with a statement from his office that said Putrajaya would tread carefully with the Sedition Act as it had not yet decided whether to go for a complete repeal, to retain it with amendments, or to introduce new laws.

The statement was contradictory to Najib's pledge two years ago to repeal the Sedition Act and replaced it with a National Harmony Act.
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