PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has slammed the government over its decision to postpone the enforcement of amendments to the Employment Act to Jan 1.
Its secretary-general, Kamarul Baharin Mansor, said MTUC was surprised by the government’s “flip-flop” on the matter, as it had just announced this month that the amendments would be enforced from Sept 1.
He added that the government had not consulted with them regarding the postponement.
Kamarul said it seemed as if workers were being “isolated” or pushed aside by the government, although the amendments were for their benefit.
“Does the government only obey the wishes of employers, while ignoring the needs of millions of workers who have the power to choose the (next) government?” he asked in a statement.
Kamarul urged the government to hold a National Labour Advisory Council meeting to discuss the issue, as it involved the interests of workers.
“MTUC will hold a special general council meeting to discuss the postponement of the Employment Act,” he said, referring to the congress’ highest decision-making body.
Earlier today, human resources minister M Saravanan announced that the postponement was to assist industry players who had urged the ministry to delay the implementation of the amendments until after the economy recovers.
The government had previously announced that amendments to the Employment Act, which will see working hours reduced from 48 hours to 45 hours per week, will be enforced from Sept 1.
This was after amendments were made to the Employment Act 1955, which aims to safeguard the welfare of workers. The amendments are in line with the International Labour Organization Convention.
The amendments would also allow employees to work flexible hours and give them the ability to choose location, time and number of work days.