Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 29 November 2022 in Shah Alam
The Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) congratulates Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim for being appointed as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
The decisive announcement of the commencement of the new parliament session on 19 December 2022 and the proposed vote of confidence for the unity government will certainly boost public confidence in the political coalition.
LLRC urges the new government to give priority to Trade Union (Amendment) Bill 2022 in this parliament session, which was only passed in the Dewan Rakyat few days before the dissolution of the parliament on 10 October.
The Trade Union (Amendment) Bill is of paramount importance because the bill provides freedom of association of workers in Malaysia. The restriction on establishing unions within particular trade, occupation and industry was removed. The power of the director general has been severely curtailed and more freedom is given to trade unions. This is unprecedented. The draconian provisions imposed by the British colonial regime are finally relaxed.
We hope that both Trade Union Act and Industrial Relations Act amendments can be fully enforced in March 2023. Workers in Malaysia will use their wisdom and freedom to increase union density and collective bargaining coverage, as a step to address the unbalanced power between employers and workers, and to fight for higher wages and benefits for all workers in the country.
In addition, considering that the unity government consists of PH, BN and its East Malaysian partners GPS and GRS, we call on the federal unity government, the Sarawak and Sabah state governments to coordinate with each other on the amendments of Sarawak Labour Ordinance and Sabah Labour Ordinance.
The amendments to the two ordinances should be passed as soon as possible, and it should take effect on 1 January 2023, same as the Employment Act Amendments that covers West Malaysia.
We wish the new Prime Minister good luck in governing the country in the next five years. May his heart be with the workers when considering public policies relating to labour.
N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition