Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Shameful - Malaysian Media failure to highlight worker struggles and violations/pickets/strikes?

Is the Malaysian Media failing their duties to the people, workers in Malaysia. It was shocking that when almost 2,000 glove factory workers went on strike for 3 days, Malaysians did not see reporting in most media. 

An internet search revealed that only Malaysiakini seem to have reported that strike, but it was when the workers ended their strike...

It is a sad day, when Malaysian Media do not report on worker issues including alleged violation of rights. This was news... A strike or a picket or workers fighting for rights (or highlighting alleged violations of rights) is IMPORTANT NEWS which media should report... because such issues is a concern for all Malaysians, because we are workers, our children are workers...or will be workers...and we are most concern not just about 'kleptocracy' but also about violation of ordinary peoples' rights and issues.

Too much reporting about what PM and Ministers are saying, and party in-fighting, criticisms by Opposition politicians...but the people are forgotten.

MEDIA, when reporting the issues, can report both sides of the story...and also investigate allegations and all this really will push for a speedier resolution of any injustice or human rights violation. Worker demands is also about 'promotion' of rights ...

MEDIA, should be a Human Rights Defender - and their reporting highlight alleged wrongdoings - which will also push the relevant authorities to speedily act against perpetrators..

There really is no need for a PICKET or even a STRIKE - if Media becomes aware of some alleged wrongdoings, their duty is to highlight. It is sad, when it is FOREIGN MEDIA that highlights and not Local Media. 

New Straits Times did a great job when they HIGHLIGHTED ...and also investigated...the Bauxite Mining issue in Pahang, and its impact to health and environment. If not for that, nothing may have been done for a long time...SPEEDY REPORTING IS IMPORTANT.

MEDIA AND JOURNALIST MUST ALSO UPHOLD THE CAUSE OF JUSTICE WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR...or is Malaysian media and journalist just too scared...  


The strike happened in Sepang - Where was  Sepang MP Mohamed Hanipa Maidin? Did he not know about worker rights violations happening in his constituency? Did he turn up or investigate or do anything? Many of these workers may not have been able to VOTE  but still a Member of Parliament (and ADUNs) really is responsible for all that happens in their constituency? No news about any statement/comment from the MP or ADUN? Why...

2,000 workers on 'strike'. In a strike, workers do not work(or get paid for the days they go on strike) - it is a right in Malaysian laws that allows workers to strike, picket

Sadly Malaysian Unions and workers simply do not use 'strike' as a means to pressure employers to respond positively...The last strike was the Malaysian Airline Strike in 1978-79 - government responded by arresting and detention, some even were detained under the ISA. The then Airlines Employees Union, which was not an in-house union, was de registered. Subsequently, the Malaysian Airlines only had in-house trade unions until recently one national union was registered - NUFAM.

New government Pakatan Harapan - Will it restore worker and trade union rights? Or will it continue with the old UMNO-BN policy of keeping workers and/or their unions weak and ineffective ... 

Did the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) come out in support of these striking workers? Did they even issue any statement. MTUC is the recognized representative of all workers in Malaysia, not just in Malaysia but they are also recognized at such for Malaysia at the International Labour Organsitation. Did the other trade unions respond - even if condemning the non-payment of wages, and asking it be paid? Sadly, I did not see - this lack of solidarity further adds to the perception that Malaysian trade unions are weak, and do not even have the full support of its own worker union members...

END EFFECT - With the failings of MEDIA, MPs/ADUNs, Trade Unions - worker rights would easily be violated by bad employers ...The Ministry also fails to inspect and do needful to ensure that worker rights are respected..

2,000 workers would not have to STRIKE only if the relevant Ministry had noticed this 'non-payment' of wages and acted fast. 

Malaysian Media was shamed when a UK newspaper highlighted worker violations in Malaysia? What will Malaysian media and journalist do? 

Blame on previous UMNO-BN practices, now that we have a new alternative government, is no longer an excuse for Malaysian Media failing to highlight problems of workers/people, failure to report on strikes/pickets or worker actions, etc... 

Now, new government and MEDIA need to be more brave, many media seems to just report what politicians say...but little about the issues of the people...What about investigative journalism? 


Almost 2,000 Nepali glove factory workers end 3-day strike

Alyaa Alhadjri  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Nearly 2,000 Nepali workers at a glove manufacturing factory in Sepang have ended their three-day strike after the management promised to settle their outstanding salaries.

Sources told Malaysiakini that Labour Department officials were onsite at the WRP Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd factory for an inspection earlier today, as well as to meet with the striking workers and the management.

"The Labour Department confirmed that the workers were not paid their wages for the last three months.

"They also found that the workers were living in terrible conditions," said the source, a labour activist in communication with a Nepali counterpart who forwarded the matter to authorities from the country.

The source was also informed that a labour attaché from the Nepali Embassy in Kuala Lumpur was involved in the discussions with WRP management.

"I was informed that the case is settled.

"The company will pay all the wages within this week," said the source.

'Exploitative conditions'

Last December, The Guardian revealed that the British National Health Service was using medical gloves made in Malaysian factories where migrant workers are allegedly subjected to forced labour, forced overtime, debt bondage, withheld wages and passport confiscation.

The report stated that WRP and another major glove manufacturer were found to have allegedly subjected thousands of migrant workers from Nepal and Bangladesh to exploitative working conditions.

Three of 19 workers interviewed by The Guardian were from WRP. They related stories of excessive overtime, confiscation of passports and illegal withholding of their salaries.

According to the newspaper, a potential client who visited the WRP factory said he was shocked by what he had witnessed, and claimed the overall working conditions were some of "the worst he had ever seen".

Among others, it was claimed that factory temperatures were up to 70°C for those working near the ovens, and that more than 3,000 workers were housed in a hostel built for 1,800.

In a statement to The Guardian, WRP chief executive Lee Son Hong dismissed the allegations of forced labour as "baseless" and insisted that the company had never withheld or delayed payments for its employees.

When contacted, Sepang police chief Abdul Aziz Ali confirmed that the workers had been picketing outside the factory for the last three days.

"Yes, they held a strike. But the issue has been settled," he told Malaysiakini.

However, Abdul Aziz said, no statement was recorded from the employer, as the incident involved no criminal elements.

"This is not a criminal case. It is (a dispute) between the workers and their employers.

"When their employer did not pay them for three months, they were angry and held a strike.

"Once the issue of salary was resolved, the strike ended," Abdul Aziz added.

Additional reporting by FAISAL ASYRAF. -Malaysiakini, 29/1/2019

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