[PS] Are businessmen now deciding the law implementation in Malaysia?

Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 29 August 2022 in Shah Alam

Labour Law Reform Coalition regrets that the Implementation of the Employment (Amendment) Act was postponed from 1st September 2022 to 1st January 2023.

The coalition would like to pose a question to the government that, instead of people representatives elected through democratic elections, are businessmen now deciding when is the right time to implement Malaysian laws?

The announcement of the Minister of Human Resources on 26 August on the postponement has saddened workers. The improved benefits such as 45 hour of work, 98 days maternity leave and application of the Act to all employees would be delayed for 3 months.

It is obvious that employer groups’ intense opposition is the main reason for the postponement. But their arguments are flawed.

Malaysian Employers’ Federation (MEF) has attended many consultation meetings on labour law reform before the bill went to the parliament. Businesses were aware of the changes since the Employment (Amendment) Bill was tabled for the first reading in October 2021 and was passed in March 2022.

They have ample time to adjust employment practices in accordance with the new law. But they are often trying to buy time and refuse to provide better working conditions to workers.

It’s the same for the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act. Even if the Dewan Rakyat passed the bill in October 2019, the law would only come into force on 1st January 2021 with a lot of reservations.

We urge the government not to succumb to the pressure and delay tactics of businessmen. In the end, the current members of parliament were entrusted by the people in the GE14 to advance workers’ rights and benefits, they should not abandon their responsibility towards their voters, of whom 99 percent are workers.

Given that the general election is around the corner, the delay in the implementation of the Employment Act and tabling of Sabah and Sarawak Labour Ordinances sends a problematic signal to Malaysian voters. It’s not too late for the government to stay put with the original date of enforcement on 1st Sept 2022.

N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier


Labour Law Reform Coalition