[PS] LLRC welcomes the passage of the Trade Union Amendments Bill with reservations on the fourth schedule

Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 6 October 2022 in Shah Alam

The Labour Law Reform Coalition welcomes the passage of the Trade Union Amendment Bill in the Dewan Rakyat on 5 October 2022, which contains numerous positive changes including freedom of association, removal of imprisonment term and the decrease of the threshold of strike ballot.

However, we would like to express our strongest reservation on the fourth schedule and its related provisions. These regressive changes give the Director-General power to deregister a union if it wages a war against the state, is involved in acts detrimental to parliamentary democracy, terrorism, or organized crimes.

We have engaged the Ministry of Human Resources and have repeated our demands several times. We regret that the intimidating provisions were retained on the grounds of preventing trade unions from abusing its power. This shows the government still sees trade unions as a security threat rather than a responsible social partner.

Going forward, LLRC will continue its advocacy and campaigns against undemocratic elements in the labour laws, for instance the fourth schedule in the Trade Union Amendment Bill, the secret ballot formula for union recognition in the Industrial Relations Regulation, and the reform of Sabah and Sarawak Labour Ordinances. The struggle continues in accordance with our principles and our solidarity with all workers, formal and informal.

In addition, we urge trade unions to create a concrete capacity building programme for national leadership and worksite committee members. This aims to strengthen unionists’ capacity in organizing and to prepare unionists for the challenges to come in near future.
Let’s work hand-in-hand to build a stronger, dynamic and progressive labour movement in Malaysia.

N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition