KUALA LUMPUR: A public bus company today failed in its judicial review to set aside an Industrial Court award that ordered RM2.45 million in compensation to be paid to its former chief operating officer for constructive dismissal.
High Court judge Mariana Yahya said the Industrial Court did not commit any error in making the award for Tengku Mohd Hasmadi Tengku Hashim.
“There was no illegality and irrationality when the tribunal made its finding. As such the award is upheld,” she said.
Mariana also ordered Konsortium Transnasional Bhd (KTB) to pay Tengku Hasmadi RM5,000 in costs.
Lawyer S Muhendaran and G Srividhya represented Tengku Hasmadi while counsel A Ramadass and M Jothiletchumi appeared for KTB.
In May last year, then Industrial Court chairman Fredrick Indran Nicholas awarded the compensation to Tengku Hasmadi, who left KTB in April 2015 after the chairman’s son, Muhammad Hariz Mohd Nadzmi, took over half his job functions.
It was disclosed during the hearing that the 27-year-old Hariz had not even completed his studies at that time.
Tengku Hasmadi said he was taken aback when he returned from leave and received a memorandum on March 3, 2015 that Hariz was to be appointed the company’s head of group support services.
He then wrote a letter to the company’s chairman, Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh, that he considered himself constructively dismissed.
He noted in the letter that Hariz was to report to Nadzmi directly and thus by-pass him.
He told Nadzmi this was a serious breach of his employment contract and calculated to humiliate him and lose respect among his subordinates.
Tengku Hasmadi, who had been with KTB for 12 years, said he was solely responsible for the group’s operations and support services covering about 3,000 employees.
Nicholas, in his judgment, said he found Tengku Hasmadi had succeeded in establishing a breach in the relationship of mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee.
“There is a dismissal in the instant case, notwithstanding that the company had not literally ‘dismissed’ the claimant but rather had forced him to leave his employment by their repudiatory conduct,” he said.
Nicholas said Tengku Hasmadi, by tendering his resignation, had acted decisively. By this action, he had protested against the company’s breach.
“All the evidence, on a balance of probabilities, point to a strong indictment against the company, which it is unable to refute,” he said.
Nicholas ordered a payment of RM818,505 as compensation in lieu of reinstatement and another RM1,637,010 as back wages.