Monday, December 07, 2015

'Excessive Noise' picketing workers - discharged by Magistrate court? Justice?

The workers were given a DNAA (discharge not amounting to acquittal)  - not acquitted and this really is not good. The charging of picketing workers with a criminal offence of 'making excessive noise' - is just not right and is a violation of worker rights.

The Malaysian government, at least the Minister of Human Resources, need to come out with a statement clearly stating that what was done by the police was wrong. Or are Malaysian workers to here after come out and 'silently' picket. [Remember, that picketing is an action that is permitted in law]. 

A DNAA also means that the prosecution can at any time in the future continue with this case. They should have been acquitted..

What can these workers or their union do? Well, they can sue for damages and compensation against the police and the government of Malaysia. 

They can also maybe  seek a Declaration in the High Court to say that their arrest and being charged in court - confirming that Picketing is an inalienable right of workers with 'excessive noise' or otherwise. 

But alas, unions and workers in Malaysia really do not have the financial resources or sometimes even the 'ability' to fight such injustice >> hence, it falls on the Malaysian government to reassure workers of their right to picket....but hoping this present government to do any such pro-worker rights action/statement may be expecting a bit too much.

After the arrest, as a sign of protest the workers plus representatives of other unions did allegedly come out and carry on with the picket action ...with the same 'amount of noise' - and no one got arrested by the police. A victory of sorts?

Also disturbing, is the news report headline that said 'ex-BAT workers' - were they also terminated for the picket? Or were they terminated because they were arrested and charged? We must find out more - are they still BAT employees or not? 

See earlier post:-  11 picketing workers charged for EXCESSIVE NOISE?


11 ex-BAT workers on picketing charge freed

 | December 3, 2015 
On April 24, the 11 were charged in the Magistrate's Court for making “excessive’” noise in a public area.


PETALING JAYA: Eleven former workers of British American Tobacco (BAT), who were charged in April for picketing over their dismissal, have been granted a discharge not amounting to acquittal (DNAA). Magistrate Salamiah Salleh granted them DNAA when the prosecution could not subpoena the witness to the trial.

Deputy public prosecutor Siti Fatimah Yahya told Magistrate Salamiah that the prosecution is not ready for trial. “The investigation officer has been changed. We could not subpoena the officer,” she said.

However, lawyer Latheefa Koya objected to the postponement, and argued that it was unfair to those charged. “The trial was supposed to start on July 14 but was postponed because the prosecution said they were not ready.”

“Today, they also said they were not ready. It is unfair to the 11 charged as some of them have travelled to attend trial.”

Latheefa asked for DNAA which Magistrate Salamiah granted. Siti Fatimah did not object.

On April 24, the 11 were charged in the Magistrate’s Court for making “excessive” noise in a public area.

They were charged under section 13 of the Minor Offences Act 1955, read together with section 34 of the Penal Code.

Ahmad Fikry Rajap, one of the 11 charged, expressed relief over the DNAA. “The Labour Act gives us the right to picket. Charging us over that is unfair,” he said. - Free Malaysian Today, 3/12/2015

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