MTUC slams MEF proposal

18 Mar 2020 / 14:55 H.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has proposed employees take five days of annual leave and another five days of unpaid leave to cover the two-week period when they are not allowed to go to work.

Its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said employers will pay wages for the remaining four days in what he called a “win-win” situation.

However, in an immediate response, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) slammed MEF for what it described as a move to “short-change” employees.

“Such a situation does not benefit anyone,” he pointed out.

Shamsuddin told theSun the proposal would create a balance for both sides rather than lead to a retrenchment.

A two-week restriction of movement has been imposed in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon pointed out that under the law, employees have to be paid.

“If the employers don’t pay, they are sabotaging the government’s initiative. They have been given incentives under the stimulus package, which is meant to aid them,” he told theSun.

“This act of sabotage is equivalent to being a traitor,” he added.

However, industrial relations consultant Raja Vishnu agreed with Shamsuddin that the proposed deal is viable.

However, he said, employers who plan to force employees to take annual or unpaid leave should notify the director-general of the Labour Department with proof that their businesses will experience a downturn.

“This would show that the employer is transparent in his action and perhaps when the Covid-19 situation is dealt with in future, and business picks up, employers can reimburse the employees in the form of monetary transactions,” he said.

“This is to ensure businesses remain viable during these difficult times, and employers are able to stay afloat and avoid retrenching employees,” he added.

Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai has appealed to the government to raise the allocation for care and treatment of Covid-19 patients to RM1 billion.

He said the Goods and Services Tax should also be reintroduced at 3%. He said there should be an exemption of import duty as well as sales tax on all essential goods.

“The government should also consider giving a 5% discount on electricity charges to the commercial, industrial, agricultural and domestic sectors.”

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