Thursday, March 19, 2020

Comprehensive investigation into death of 5 workers killed in the Pengerang tragedy (LRRC)

Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 18 March 2020 

Groups call for comprehensive investigation into death of 5 workers killed in the Pengerang tragedy

The Labour Law Reform Coalition (LRRC), comprised of 58 trade unions, migrant worker groups and non-governmental organisations, calls for the Government to begin a comprehensive investigation into the tragedy at the Johor Bahru petroleum refining complex on 15/3/2020 that  left five workers dead and one seriously injured.
Investigations must be conducted by, amongst others, the police, the Fire Department, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and all relevant agencies.
The explosion occurred at Pengerang Refining and Petrochemical (PRefChem)’s Hydro Diesel Treater Unit at the Pengerang Integrated Complex on Sunday night. 42 Fire and Rescue personnel and nine vehicles battled the blaze for a full twelve hours, and operations have been suspended to enable investigations by the Department of Occupational Safety and Health.
PRefChem is a strategic alliance of two of the world’s largest national oil companies — Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas), the national oil company of Malaysia, and Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia.
It was disappointing when the Johor Police Chief, Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay, was reported saying that the police will only investigate if there was sabotage, betrayal or terrorist involvement. [“Polis hanya akan membuat siasatan jika ada unsur sabotaj, khianat mahu pun serangan pengganas dikesan pada fasiliti berkenaan.’- Berita Harian, 17/3/2020]
This is unacceptable, as the police must investigate comprehensively to determine whether there was any crime, including murder or manslaughter, and determine whether there is anyone criminally liable for the deaths and injury caused.
There must be an inquest conducted for all these deaths.
There must be no special treatment accorded simply because Petronas is involved.
“We extend our deep sympathies to their families and workmates of Fadhi Akmal Fadzil, Azarul Ashraf Nor Akmal, Norfazly Md Nor, Che Huzaidy Che Harun and Hadi Syafiq Jamil who died in this tragic and possibly avoidable accident”, said LLRC co-chair Irene Xavier.
“Occupational safety and health is the responsibility of employers, however the increasing regularity of instances like these clearly demonstrate that workers cannot trust them to execute this responsibility, particularly in high risk sectors like petrochemical and construction”, she continued.
“This is not a problem that popped up yesterday and won’t be solved without a meaningful change in employers’ behaviour to ensure workers’ safety is truly valued. Unless there is a serious threat of prison time for bosses’ whose negligence or laxity results in workers’ deaths, workers will keep dying.”
The LLRC also calls on the government to begin drafting more deterrent laws, including also industrial manslaughter legislation, that provides for mandatory prison sentences for employers or company directors who by their actions and/or omissions result in workers death at the workplace.
Irene Xavier (+60) 11 1539 9960
Labour Law Reform Coalition (LRRC)

*The Labour Law Reform Coalition is a group of 58 trade unions, migrant worker organisations and non-govermental organisations lobbying for reforms to Malaysia’s labour law to create decent work.
Media References:-

See earlier relevant posts:

5 killed at PETRONAS- Aramco Refining Complex incident? Comprehensive investigation?Inquest? Prosecution? RCI?



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