Streamline labour laws in East and West Malaysia to uphold constitutional equality

Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 26 March 2022 in Shah Alam

Labour Law Reform Coalition strongly supports the demand of Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak that Sabah Labour Ordinance and Sarawak Labour Ordinance should be amended immediately, so that East Malaysian workers will enjoy the same benefits provided in the Employment Bill 2021.

In the spirit of the article 8 of the Federal Constitution that all persons are equal before the law and no discrimination against citizens on the ground of place of birth, the government must streamline the labour laws in East and West Malaysia, uphold the principle of constitutional equality in labour law reform exercise.

Given the parliament will be reconvened in April to debate the Anti-Hopping Bill, we urge the government to include the amendments of Sabah and Sarawak Labour Ordinance, as well as the Trade Union Bill 2022, in the special parliament sitting.

Furthermore, we would like to recommend that any future labour law amendments should be grouped as “3 in 1” bundle. Amendments to Employment Act, Sabah Labour Ordinance and Sarawak Labour Ordinance ought to be tabled at the parliament concurrently.

As the parliament passed the Federal Constitution amendment to restore the equal status of Borneo states in December 2021, the ruling and opposition parties should be more sensitive in dealing with Borneo states issues and respect the equal rights of Sabah and Sarawak citizens, failing to do so will defeat the purpose of making Borneo states as equal partners in the Federation.

N. Gopal Krishnam & Irene Xavier


Labour Law Reform Coalition