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?
BY RUPA DAMODARAN
KUALA LUMPUR: In order to comply with the terms of the labour chapter of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, Malaysia would need to review nine labour legislations next year.
Human Resources Ministry Principal Assistant Secretary, Policy Division (Labour Policy Branch) K. Kesavan said there were two strategies to ensure that the chapter is “effectively implemented.”
The first strategy, he said, involves amending the legislations and regulations in line with International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-up.
“The second involve enforcement and monitoring,” he said.
The nine legislations are the Private Employment Agencies Act (1981), Children and Young Persons (Employment) Act (1966), Worker’s Minimum Standards of Housing and Amenities Act (1990), Occupational Safety and Health Act (1994), Employment Act (1955), Labour Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 67) and Labour Ordinance (Sarawak Cap 76), Industrial Relations Act (1967) and Trade Unions Act (1959).
The amendments comprise more than 30 provisions.
The Human Resources Ministry, he said, is planning to bring all the amendments to the Parliament in stages by April 2017. The TPP is expected to be implemented in two years, from the signing of the trade deal on February 4.
Kesavan presented paper titled “Labour Chapter and Proposed Legislative Enactments and Amendments to Trade Union Act to Give Effect to TPPA” at a seminar titled ‘How TPPA Relates to Workers and Malaysians’.
The seminar was organised by the Federation of Trade Unions of Employees in Banking and Financial Institutions (FEBFI).
With the acceptance of the terms, Malaysia must follow the four principles – freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining, the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory labour, the effective abolition of child labour and the elimination of discrimination in respect of employment and occupation.
FEBFI Secretary General J. Solomon urged members to fully utilise opportunities that are available to understand the benefits of the TPP. The TPP, he said, will play an important aspect in the lives of workers, regardless of the sectors.
Source: New Straits Times Online
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