Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Malaysia: Ok to terminate worker's contracts but not OK to terminate contract with toll operators, etc...

What about the contractual obligation of employers to their workers - their foreign workers. Normally, the obligation by contact is to provide employment for 3 years (or 5 years)?

Apparently, the Malaysian government says that these contracts can be broken - and to help employers break contracts with migrant workers, the government in fact enacted also a provision in the Employment Act, i.e. section 60N (which I believe, is definitely discriminatory and unconstitutional - it goes against the guarantees of equality provided by Article 8 of the Federal Constitution..see my earlier post - Malaysia's 'Foreign Workers First Out'(FWFO) principle is unconstitutional and discriminatory)

So, today during the financial crisis that we are going through, which is expected to see a lot of retrenchment, employers are using that unconstitutional section 60N - and terminating foreign workers, and breaching the contractual obligations to these workers.

Remember also the importance and the 'un-breakability' of all the other kinds of contracts, with them toll operators, water companies. Remember how the government is now taking millions of ringgit of our money and paying the toll operators as compensation for not yet increasing certain toll rates. {Also our money is being used for worker re-training programs in companies - WHY? Wonder whether like US, the government has conditions about maximum salary/allowance that the CEO, Management and Directors be getting when they receive government aid?}

But, when it comes to workers - the migrant workers, the government is encouraging employers to break these contracts. In fact as incentive, the government is also saying that they will give back employers speedily the levies that they paid for their foreign workers. Is the government paying these workers any compensation?

Malaysia's employers can apply to fire foreign workers early
Last Updated(Beijing Time):2009-02-04 09:03

Companies with foreign workers and are facing the economic crunch can now apply to let go these workers even if their service contracts have yet to expire, Malaysian Human Resource Minister Subramaniam said in Langkawi, northern Kedah state on Tuesday.

"I have discussed this with Deputy Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and it is to help companies that are affected by the economic downturn," he told reporters after opening a hospitality course organized by the Manpower Department.

Besides this, companies that retrenched foreign workers could also reclaim any balance on levies already paid to the government, he said.

Prior to this, companies were having difficulty retrenching foreign workers because they had to honor the contracts with their foreign workers while the foreign worker levy had to be paid on an annual basis.

So far this year, the ministry had received applications from companies to retrench 9,000 workers of whom 6,000 were foreign workers, Subramaniam said.

Till Jan 31, a total of 15,000 workers were retrenched nationwide with most of them in the manufacturing sector, he said.

To address the problem of lay offs, his ministry had introduced re-training programs for workers with the government absorbing the costs, he added.

This was better than having employees asked to go on extended leave because of the slowdown, he said. Source:- China Economic Net Website

Is the government doing anything to find these retrenched foreign workers new jobs? NO - but they are bringing in more new migrant workers - about 70,000 from Bangladesh. Should Malaysia not be giving jobs to retrenched migrant workers? [See earlier post - Absurd that Malaysia bringing in 70,000 more Migrant Workers now]

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