Employment Act overhaul: Govt keen to consult all stakeholders, says Kula

KUALA LUMPUR: New conditions make it necessary to have a comprehensive revision of the Employment Act 1955 but the needs and interests of all parties must be taken into consideration first, said Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran (pix).

“There are many interested parties that want to express their views, and we must allow that before presenting any proposal to the Attorney-General’s Chambers,” he told theSun after presenting a keynote address at a Malaysian Institute of Management conference on “Future Ready HR Professionals” here yesterday.

He said the ministry had consulted the Malaysian Employers Federation and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress but now there were many stakeholders who did not fall under the gambit of either of these two groups.

Kulasegaran said that one major problem the government faced was that the Act had not been comprehensively amended since Merdeka.

He noted that a lot had changed since the legislation was first introduced in 1955. “At that time the internet was unknown. But now there are jobs that never existed then and we have to take all that into consideration,” he said.

“Furthermore, Industrial Revolution 4.0 is upon us and there will be many changes in the way we work so we need to look at how we incorporate those into the legislation.”

He said one of the challenges faced by the ministry was how to reconcile new technology into the legislation to ensure that Malaysians have employment in the future.

He said at present there is full employment in the country but with IR4.0 there will be job loses and employees will need to be retrained and reskilled to ensure they will be able to find employment.

“One safety net for employees is the Employment Insurance Scheme which will provide an income for the unemployed while they look for a job.”

He said if there are too many job loses and Malaysians are unable to find a job, one option that is available here but not in many other countries is to reduce the number of foreign workers.

Kulasegaran said there are about two million documented foreign workers in the country and a huge number of undocumented workers.

He said reducing this number will be one way to tackle the issue of unemployment.