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Malaysia signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) can negatively impact on the local labour market, said Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.
He said ratifying the TPPA could create situations in which labour disputes might not be resolved within the country.
“Under the TPPA, a council is expected to be formed among member countries to deal with such conflicts.
“If a solution cannot be agreed upon, it is possible that the matter would have to be brought to The Hague (where the United Nations International Court of Justice sits.)
“In that sense, I think, we more or less lose control of the situation and that can be dangerous,” he said after attending a DAP-organised colloquium on labour issues in Ipoh today.
He said in the open economic climate of the TPPA, the government would be sued by multinationals for potential loss on profit.
“An existing case is such as in Germany, which is being sued by a Swiss company after the country revoked an agreement to provide a nuclear plant.
“This is a negative effect.
“To be fair, the government wants to increase trading between the 12 signatory nations, however, it is important to protect the interests of certain industries, such as the plantation sector for example, to prevent negative impacts that could affect the employment in the sector.”
He said under TPPA’s environmental protection laws, certain existing practices within the plantation industry, such as replantation of oil palm and planting on pit soil, were deemed to be deforestation and harmful to the environment.
“This will be a big headache for the plantation industry players, of which many are planting on pit soil. The restrictions will affect palm production, so what do the developed countries expect us to do?”
Shamsuddin said coupled with aims under the Asean Economic Community (AEC) blueprint, competition for employment would become stiffer due to the influx of potential candidates from Asean countries, such as Singapore, Phillipines and Thailand.
“We need to be prepared for this by recognising existing skilled workers by certifying them.
“Currently, skilled workers in Malaysia are defined as those with a diploma or higher certificate. Those who are skilled through experience are not recognised, which will put them at a disadvantage in competing with their Asean counterparts, who have the same skill set and experience but are certified.”
He said it was high time Malaysia adopted on-the-job training and certification, as it was an affordable system to recognise workers for 98% of employers in the country, instead of relying on hiring solely based on classroom-based qualifications. – October 3, 2015.
Source: The Malaysian Insider
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