SHAH ALAM: The Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM), which has been operating since 1932, is experiencing financial difficulties and has failed to pay the salaries of some 300 staff for four months.
The company provides 24-hour emergency, breakdown and roadside assistance to motorists for an annual fee.
It has also failed to fulfil its Employees Provident Fund contributions for almost a year.
Today, some 100 disgruntled employees, together with Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, gathered outside AAM’s head office in Shah Alam to demand their wages.
AAM employee Mohamad Tajudin Jailani, 48, said AAM staff had been suffering as a result of the unpaid salaries, with some having their cars repossessed and others chased out of their homes because they could not afford the rent.
“For four months, we have been surviving on our savings and now, even that money is finished. We do not know how we are going to support our families.
“Our situation is critical. There are employees who are working at petrol stations and hypermarkets to support themselves.”
Saiful Sallehuddin, 43, said he was bitterly disappointed that the company had not been contributing to EPF for almost a year.
Another employee, Zaini Abu Samah, said they last received a bonus in 2000 and were not even given leave during Hari Raya.
“My salary is only RM1,200 and what is sad is that we have not been paid for four months without any reason.”
For Mimi Nur Fahariah Majid, who has been working for AAM for nine years, this Hari Raya was spent away from her hometown, as she did not have any money to go back.
“AAM gave us RM500 before Hari Raya, half of our salary, but it is not enough. We demanded an explanation from the management on our unpaid salary for four months and they told us that in three months, all unpaid salaries would be paid.
“But these promises remain mere promises and up till now we haven’t received anything.”
PSM Secretary-General A Sivarajan said PSM had demanded the Human Resources Ministry and the Labour Department (JTKSM) to intervene in the crisis.
“The ministry and JTKSM must investigate this matter. If AAM is experiencing financial difficulties, their assets need to be liquidated and the proceeds used to pay the salaries of the staff.”
He said some 300 employees have not been paid and 16 AAM branches in Malacca, Negeri Sembilan, Sarawak and Sungai Petani have closed.
He added that if AAM remained stubborn and failed to pay the unpaid salaries, PSM would file a claim at the Labour Department and, if necessary, take the matter to court.
An AAM officer said the management had previously released a statement, stating that all unpaid salaries will be paid on Aug 18 (Thursday) and Sept 16.
Attempts to get an official statement from AAM failed.