PETALING JAYA: The recent court decision declaring the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) election last year as null and void has raised questions on who is in charge of the organisation now as there has been no application for a stay of execution.
Leaders and members say a quick intervention by the Registrar of Societies (RoS) is vital as it is the umbrella body for unions in the public and private sector.
The brief written decision by the court did not make any order as to the operation of MTUC besides giving the court’s reasons for not recognising the triennial delegates conference (TDC) which elected the principal office-bearers for the 2022-2025 term.
MTUC secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor said the decision came as a shock to them and they are in the process of discussing the matter with their lawyers on whether to proceed with the application for a stay order.
“The working committee has met and decided that a stay order may be needed for the principal office-bearers to continue with the operations including paying their salaried staff and so on. However, such a decision needs to be endorsed by the general council,” he told FMT.
On Aug 11, the Shah Alam High Court declared the MTUC’s TDC held in July last year null and void for non-compliance with the provisions of its constitution.
Judicial commissioner Choong Yeow Choy ruled that all decisions made at the conference on July 2 and 3 last year were also null and void. This included the election of the principal office-bearers.
Last year, a group of major affiliates of MTUC, led by former president Halim Mansor, filed two suits against the then newly-elected principal officer-bearers, claiming that they had violated the organisation’s constitution in calling for the conference.
The 16 unions sought a declaration that the election was invalid, and an order to stop the 19 new office-bearers for the 2022-2025 term from discussing or changing policy matters pending the disposal of the applications.
Kamarul said a general council meeting has to be called as soon as possible to decide on the next course of action.
He added that they have also informed the RoS that they are taking the necessary steps to resolve this impasse. “They have asked us to do it as soon as possible.”
MTUC general council member A Sivananthan said a quick decision is needed as the decision has raised many uncertainties which includes the spending of its funds, making important policy decisions and the workers’ representations in various government-linked agencies like the EPF and Socso.
Sivananthan, who is in one of the 16 unions which took the matter to court, said it appears at the moment that the principal officer-bearers have no powers to execute anything as their election has been declared null and void.
“I hope a general council meeting is called urgently to make a quick decision on the next course of action. The stay of execution is not the only solution as it’s only temporary. Calling for a fresh TDC to elect a new leadership is also an option the meeting must consider,” he told FMT.