Selangor to push for law to protect estate workers

Selangor executive councillor V Ganabatirau says it is high time for Parliament to enact a law to protect the rights of estate workers. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Selangor executive councillor claims that the state government is committed to pushing for a law to protect the interests of workers, particularly estate workers.

V Ganabatirau, who heads the state’s caring government committee, told FMT he planned to meet Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran to propose the drafting of a bill to be tabled in Parliament for the purpose.

He was responding to PSM central committee member S Arulchelvan, who recently complained that the state had not kept its promise to build alternative housing for former estate workers forced out of their homes by companies that had taken over plantation lands.

Arulchelvan, who is coordinating his party’s campaign for the Semenyih by-election, demanded the enactment of a state law to protect estate workers.

Ganabatirau said he agreed that such a law was necessary, but he added that it would be meaningful only as a federal law.

He said it was high time for Parliament to enact such a law.

“We need the law for the entire nation, but we cannot have a state enactment that might conflict with a federal law,” he said.

The state would meanwhile continue dealing with issues of workers’ rights through negotiations, he added.

He noted that his predecessor, Xavier Jayakumar, was working on the idea of a state enactment to protect estate workers, but he said he had yet to gain access to Jayakumar’s file of documents.