Kula hits back over MTUC claim on IRA reforms

Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran.

PETALING JAYA: Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran today denied a claim by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) that it was not consulted over labour law reforms, including amendments to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

Calling the accusation “irresponsible”, he said his ministry had held nine National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meetings this year and various technical committee meetings since January.

He said his ministry had also met with various parties and stakeholders.

In a statement, he said he placed the “utmost importance” on his ministry’s tripartite consultations by conducting such meetings on a monthly basis.

He said online public consultations on the IRA began in December 2018, adding that the ministry had also consulted the government, human rights commission Suhakam, the International Labour Organisation, the Bar Council and various NGOs.

He said the amendments had been sent to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for review and were now covered under the Official Secrets Act.

“It is unfortunate that such an irresponsible statement was issued when effective consultation started in January and has continued for nine months. The due process of effective consultations has been completed,” he said.

Earlier today, MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said Kula had lied about consulting with stakeholders before tabling the amendments.

He also accused the minister of unilaterally deciding to submit the proposed amendments to the IRA, Employment Act and Trades Union Act to the AGC for approval.

He said none of the proposals sent to the AGC had been endorsed by the technical committee or NLAC.

But Kula said Solomon’s views were not the only ones up for consideration.

“Solomon does not have the right to make wild accusations just because he did not get what he demanded. One holding such a post representing workers should always hold himself in proper decorum.”

He also questioned the number of times Solomon had attended NLAC meetings under the previous government.

Based on the ministry’s records, he said, Solomon had attended these meetings 10 times from 2012 to 2017.

“Why was he silent then?”