Reveal talks with labour council on IRA reforms, MTUC dares Kula

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general J Solomon. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today challenged Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran to reveal the minutes of National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) meetings on labour law reforms, as the spat over amendments to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) continues.

MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said this would show if Kula did indeed give NLAC the mandate to reach a consensus on the proposed amendments.

“I challenge the minister to make public the minutes of the NLAC meetings over the past year to reveal exactly what discussions took place with NLAC on the proposed amendments, and the level of engagement his ministry took with members in ensuring there was consensus in the proposed amendments sent to the attorney-general,” he said.

Kula said yesterday that his ministry had held nine NLAC meetings this year as well as various technical committee meetings since January.

He was responding to MTUC’s claim that no consultations were held with the group before the proposed amendments to the IRA were tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

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 (ILO), the Bar Council and various NGOs.

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

But Solomon maintained that Kula had “sidelined” any need for the NLAC and its technical committee to vet and endorse amendments proposed by MTUC and the Malaysian Employers Federation.

In a statement, he said having monthly NLAC meetings should not be used as “lip service” to advance political agendas.

“Such meetings are of no use if the minister does not adhere to the spirit of tripartism and, more importantly, uphold the ILO Convention 144 on Tripartite Consultation which Malaysia has ratified,” he added.