Yesterday the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammed Najib bi, Tun Haji Abdul Razak, visited Sipitang, Sabah, to officiate the ground-breaking ceremony for the Pan-Borneo Highway, a motorway that stretching across Sabah and Sarawak.
That morning the Sabah state newspaper Borneo Today published the following open letter to the Prime Minister, written by the Assistant Branch Secretary of the Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU) Dayang Roswataye Binti Salleh, demanding his active participation in STIEU’s struggle for union recognition:
An open letter to the Prime Minister of Malaysia
I am a young woman worker at Sabah Forest Industries (SFI) in Sipitang, and a union member.
Our union has been struggling for recognition by our employer for decades now so we can engage in collective bargaining. Three time already we have achieved recognition, and three times our employer has overturned the (Human Resources) Minister’s decision through judicial review proceedings.
As a young worker I sometimes wonder whether life will always be so hard. All we want is our rights. You, Mr. Prime Minister, can champion a change of law and prevent this from happening in the future.
Today, as you visit Sipitang, please take a moment to think about our struggle to have our union recognised, as well as the plight of hundreds of local Malaysian workers who have yet to get their salaries.