Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign workers should not be allowed to hold any post in labour unions if Malaysia decides to go ahead with the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), said senator Tan Sri Mohd Ali Rustam.
He expressed concern that if foreign workers were allowed to lead labour unions, they might sabotage companies by asking workers to protest.
“If they come in large numbers and they control our unions, we will be in trouble. This will affect business and I hope the Government will take this into consideration,” he said when debating the motion to participate in TPPA in the Dewan Negara on Thursday.
He urged the Government to rope in constitutional and syariah experts when completing the ratification of the TPPA by making 26 amendments to 17 laws.
Ali also said that the country could not rely only on food products such as Tongkat Ali coffee and Kacip Fatimah for overseas markets but should also improve on high quality products such as electronic items.
He said there was a need to find ways to promote local products and penetrate other markets such in Peru, Chile and the United States.
Senator Datuk Dr Sim Kui-Hian said the TPPA should not contravene the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report.
He added that the Sarawak Legislative Assembly had given the mandate to the state government on Dec 8, 2015, to recoil all Federal laws to tie in with the Malaysia Agreement and the IGC report.
“As such, I would like to suggest that the clause on the Petroleum Development Act 1974 be exempted from the TPPA as the Federal Government has given the Sarawak Territorial Waters to the people of Sarawak,” he said.
Senator Datuk Jaspal Singh said the TPPA would be a catalyst for Malaysia to become a high income nation.
Senator Khairiah Mohamed asked the Government if it had any intention of standardising the minimum wage in the country with other TPPA partner countries.
“We are worried that some of our partners will invest in other countries which have lower minimum wage.
“What are the preparations of the Government if we face such problems,” she asked.
Source: The Star Online
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