AAM chairman: We’ll pay all salary arrears

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PETALING JAYA: The Automobile Association of Malaysia (AAM) has given its assurance to settle the four months’ salaries due to its 300 staff.

While not detailing the exact nature of the association’s problems, AAM Chairman Tunku Mudzaffar Tunku Mustapha denied the non-payment of salaries was because they simply wanted to burden the staff.

“We are in the process of solving this problem and we promise to settle this as soon as possible. Our workers don’t have to worry.

“We will pay our workers; we love them,” he told FMT.

Formed in 1932 and known as the country’s main automotive association, AAM has over 100,000 members who pay between RM75 and RM125 annually for auto services, which include 24-hour emergency breakdown and roadside assistance.

It is still a service preferred by the older generation. However, it is facing difficulties in attracting membership from the younger generation and competition from insurance and battery companies which also provide such breakdown services.

AAM had flourished during the time Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister. It was recognised as the official automotive spokesperson of motorised vehicle owners in Malaysia. AAM was also vocal in championing issues on road safety.

However, recently it was alleged that AAM was facing a financial crisis after it failed to pay salaries for some 300 staff for the past four months. It was also alleged they had failed to fulfill their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions for close to a year.

Commenting briefly on this, Tunku Mudzaffar denied the allegation in the media on AAM’s so-called financial crisis and speculation that the association may close shop.

“What was reported in the media before this is not all accurate. Only we (AAM) know what is happening. I do not wish to comment further on this.”

Meanwhile, president of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Abdullah Sani Abdul Halim said the government, via the human resources ministry, must take immediate action to solve this crisis.

Admitting that he was shocked with the problem faced by AAM, considering it was well-established, Abdullah Sani urged the government to freeze the association’s assets should they fail to pay its staff.

He said strict action should be taken because it was clear the association had breached the Employment Act.

“The staff should have also acted faster. If salary is not paid within the given period, they should immediately lodge a report with the Labour Department. There was no need to wait for four months,” he said when contacted by FMT.

This matter was highlighted yesterday when some 100 disgruntled employees, together with Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) members, gathered outside AAM’s head office in Shah Alam to demand their wages.

An 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 homes because they could not afford rent.