Suspension of parliament will further delay labour law reform and negatively affect target of 48% labour income share aimed by SPV 2030

Press Statement by Labour Law Reform Coalition on 13 Jan 2021 in Shah Alam

Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) expresses our grave concern over the decision of suspension of Malaysian parliament until August 2021, which is a result of proclamation of emergency by the Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday.

As the amendment to the Industrial Relations Act was made effective on 1 January 2021, LLRC is calling on the government to table and pass Trade Union Act amendment and Employment Act amendment in the first quarter of 2021. It is because these labour laws are interrelated, without amendment and implementation of Trade Union Act amendment, many provisions in the Industrial Relations Act cannot be enforced by the authorities.

The delay in parliamentary process will negatively impact Malaysian workers’ freedom of association and the government’s effort to align domestic laws with international labour standards. The status quo means the majority workers are left unprotected by effective trade unions, which are able to collectively bargain for better wages, benefits and working conditions for workers.

The absence of collective bargaining at workplaces will defeat the government’s target to achieve 48 per cent labour income share as stated in the shared prosperity vision 2030. It also allows employers to unilaterally terminate workers without a bargaining process during the Covid-19 pandemic. Labour law reform is a critical strategy for the government to protect workers’ rights and achieve the 48 percent target from current 35.7 per cent.

We urge the government to reconsider the decision of suspension of parliament and negotiate for an inter-party consensus to speed up the labour law reforms in the parliament. We fully support the government’s effort to fight Covid-19, we hope that the government can come out with policy measures to protect workers’ wages, right to food and health during the movement control order 2.0.

Yours sincerely,
N.Gopalkishnam & Irene Xavier
Labour Law Reform Coalition