PETALING JAYA: The move to withdraw the proposed anti-discrimination provision in the Employment Act has been slammed by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).
MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon (pix) was commenting after reports that the proposed provision was allegedly withdrawn following objections from the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).
MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan, when contacted by Malaysiakini, said that after discussions, the Human resource ministry decided not to pursue the matter further.
Bardan was also reported to have said that “the Employment Act 1955 will then be going against its principle and become inapplicable if it (pre-employment provision) sets an example of covering the issue of pre-employment.
“The employees must be first employed for the Act to apply. It doesn’t cover issues about pre-employment,” he said.
However, Solomon said the Employment Act covers all parties which includes the contract of employment where there is a relationship between employer and worker.
“MEF is confusing everyone with the contract of employment. It is confusing everyone that the Employment Act is a contract. Both are two different things,” he told theSun.
He said the pre-employment clause, that comprises a few clauses, cannot become a standalone Act.
Solomon also said the provisions would not go against the principles of the Employment Act 1955 as the pre-employment clauses would only emphasise “good conduct” of the employer to ensure the employer is responsible and workers seeking employment are not discriminated.
He said protection for job seekers against discrimination is important and relevant for it to be incorporated into the Employment Act.
“As mature and educated shareholders, we should incorporate any provision that upholds fundamental human rights... a ‘provision against discrimination’ is key to securing this.”
Solomon said it is wrong for the government to only follow the employer’s take on the matter, instead any deliberation and decision should be agreed by all stakeholders.
“Such decision must be made through the Technical Committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resources. It has acted in bad faith and is in breach of the tripartism principle.”
Solomon said MTUC will advise the Human Resource Ministry to be more responsible, transparent and respectful to the tripartite principles if it is sincere on the Labour Law Reform instead of conveying decisions through the media.