Monday, September 06, 2021

Remove Saravanan, we need a Better HR Minister for the good of Workers?

What did Saravan, the PN-BN Human Resource Minister do for workers under Muhyiddin? 

And again, he is HR Minister - it is best the Prime Minister appoints another, who is sensitive to worker issues and rights. We really do not need a Minister that does little(or nothing) for the advancement of worker rights in Malaysia.

The Ministry of Labour(the Civil Servants there) know very well that Malaysian labour laws, fall short of minimum international labour standards. This embarrassing fact was HIGHLIGHTED when Malaysia had to amend our labour laws to meet minimum labour standards, if Malaysia wanted to be part of the TPPA Agreement. The Ministry had consultations and had prepared the needed amendments - the only thing to be done was for the Cabinet(in particular the Minister of Human Resources to table it) - but then improving worker rights and worker's welfare was not a priority - what seems to be priority is the protection of businesses/employers and so workers in Malaysia were ignored. see
Malaysia's Embarassingly Poor Worker and Trade Union Rights Reality - Malaysia – United States Labour Consistency Plan?


When PH came in, we expected the long awaited much needed amendments to labour laws that will better protect all workers - but alas, it did not happen fast enough. But, at least the HR Minister did something like the amendment of the 

Then, PN came in and Saravanan became HR MInister - and, in fact even the Minimum Standards of Housing law was not fully enforced - some talk about giving employers more time. So again, workers suffered..

PH and PN failed to make even the basic needed amendments - Now, the Employment Act 1955 only provide for minimum rights to generally workers earning RM2,000 or less - so, if you earn more that RM2,000, you cannot rely on the WORKER RIGHTS guaranteed by that law. For you, your rights depend on your own employment contract with your employer, and if that right is not there, too bad. After all, the Employment Act provides for MINIMUM rights - so why not for ALL workers(or at the very least those earning RM5,000 or less). 

Now, many a new HR Ministers talk about 'consultations' and even have meetings with unions and NGOs - is that not a strategy to delay amendment or new laws to improve the rights of workers. Sadly, some union or NGO leaders are happy with these 'consultation' - but at the end of the day, no needed amendments. 

Recently, we have heard allegations of FORCED LABOUR being made by the US, UK and other countries - but the existing Malaysian labour laws are not violated? Simply, because it still falls short of MINIMUM international standards.

It was shocking that the new Prime Minister is thinking about making Saravanan the Human Resource Minister - please get someone who cares about workers to be the Minister.

Maybe, we need a Minister of Labour NOT a Minister of Human Resources - because it seems such Ministers are simply interested in 'human resource' needs of the Employer/Businesses - not so much the worker. After Independence, we had the Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, then it became the Minister of Labour in 1959, and in 1990, it became the Minister of Human Resources. Is that why workers have lost a Minister that will focus its attention of workers and worker welfare, to be replaced by a Ministry that looks more to human resource needs of Businesses/Employers?

Well, was not Saravanan the Human Resource Minister ever since the PN government came into power in March 2020, and for so long he has failed to do anything significant for workers - so why make him HR Minister again? He was Minister since the beginning of Covid-19 Pandemic, and he failed to do anything to even protect workers during this pandemic. 

The current top earner is now human resources minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan with his monthly income of RM143,628.55. - Malay Mail, 31/8/2020

Saravanan failures...

- FAILED  to even amend the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 to include Covid-19 as an occupational disease - which would have now legally imposed on employers a DUTY to protect workers from Covid.

- Failed to put in place a WORKPLACE REGULATION that would require employers/workplaces to put in place mechanisms to keep the worker safe. Singapore, for instance, already now has the Infectious Diseases (Workplace Measures to Prevent Spread of Covid-19) Regulations 2020.

26 Groups - Minister Fails to Protect Workers from Becoming Victim of Covid-19, only social protection AFTER worker already infected and/or dies now exists. Clear Regulations and Standards Needed that Employers Must Comply to Protect Worker Safety and Health

Rise In Workplace Covid-19 Infections Demands Stricter Laws (Not Recommendations) And Corrupt-Free Enforcement - Workplace Clusters about 30% of all clusters in Malaysia(27 Groups)

 Workers groups call for law defining Covid-19 as occupational disease(Malaysiakini)

NGO, kesatuan sekerja gesa Covid-19 ditakrif penyakit pekerjaan(Malaysiakini)


- Paid SICK LEAVE - everyone knows that if a worker is infected by Covid, he/she will need at the very least 14 days sick leave - but Saravanan failed to amend the Employment Act which now just provide 14 days paid sick leave to increase this entitlement in light of Covid-19. 

- When one is a known 'close contact', he/she will be required to quarantine himself/herself for at least 14 days > Will he be on PAID LEAVE? When any area is subject to enhanced movement control order(PKPD), a worker living in that area, of course, cannot go to work - so, will he be on PAID LEAVE? Saravavan simply failed to address these issues, and to Act fast to get the needed laws in place to protect the worker. Was there even any statement made about what he would want to do?

Many other failings will be considered in a later post...


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