Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 2 June 2022 in Shah Alam
Labour Law Reform Coalition calls on the government to immediately withdraw the fourth schedule of the Trade Union Bill 2022, which insinuates that trade unions could wage wars against the state and involve in terrorism.
The Trade Union Bill empowers the Minister of Human Resources to introduce a new fourth Schedule, which specifies offences, if a trade union is convicted, the Director General of Trade Unions can cancel the registration of the unions, or declare the affiliation of trade unions invalid.
The proposed fourth schedule stipulates offences under various chapters of the Penal Code (Act 574) chapter VI (Offences against the state, S121-130A), Chapter VIA (Offences relating to Terrorism, S130B-S130T) and Chapter VIB (Organized crimes, S130U-S130ZC).
This new provision is seemingly suggesting that trade unions could commit offences such as waging war against the Yang di-Pertuan Agong (S121), carrying out activity detrimental to parliamentary democracy (S124B), directing activities of terrorist groups (S130I) or assisting an organized criminal group (S130W).
It is totally insane to link trade unions to these criminal activities. The government should not, on the one hand, abolish the provisions relating to prohibition of participating in unlawful activities in the Trade Union Bill, on the other hand introducing the Fourth Schedule to prevent trade unions from joining unlawful activities.
Given that Penal Code applies to all persons, anyone who commits offence, whether a trade unionist or not, will be prosecuted accordingly. Therefore, it is unnecessary for the government to include the penal code provisions in the fourth schedule of Trade Union Bill.
LLRC is of the view that the government should immediately drop the fourth schedule, which is acting as a deterring factor to check trade union movement. The fourth schedule can permanently disable trade unions in Malaysia, it is undoubtedly a knife hanging over the head of the labour movement.
We urge all political parties and members of parliament to oppose the fourth schedule of Trade Union Bill!
N. Gopal Kishnam & Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition