PETALING JAYA: The Penang branch of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has criticised the argument put forward by Umno Minister Azalina Othman that foreign workers can work longer hours than Malaysians, as the very concept was “going against labour rights.”
Its secretary K Veeriah said Azalina seemed to suggest that foreign workers could be exploited to work for long hours without stress.
“This is grave injustice to these migrant workers and it would be tantamount to slave conditions at work.
“It is a universally accepted standard that workers cannot, regardless of their status, be required to work more than an eight-hour work day,” said Veeriah in a text message.
Azalina, who is a Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, claimed recently that the government had to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshis to fulfil employment demands in the country as Malaysians continued to shun dirty, difficult and dangerous (3D) jobs.
She also claimed Malaysians were not prepared to work long hours.
Veeriah however, rebuked Azalina’s “misplaced” argument, calling on the minister to look at Malaysians working in Singapore and other countries.
In any case, he said what really bothered MTUC and lay Malaysians was the government’s choice of foreign workers.
“Why get workers from Bangladesh? Is the minister suggesting that they can be exploited to work long and stressful hours?” Veeriah asked.