PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has attributed Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) defeat in Tanjung Piai to a disillusionment among workers with the government.
MTUC secretary-general, J. Solomon, said there was a growing perception among wage earners that government leaders were not interested in their plight and were merely using their powers to outwit political rivals.
He said there was also a “widening disconnect” between the government and the people, especially those in the B40 (the bottom 40% income earners) and the M40 (the middle 40%) groups who were mainly employed in the plantations, factories and the services sector.
“Several government leaders are heavy on rhetoric but offer little in terms of deeds or substance,” he said in a statement today.
Solomon pointed out that the government could only do well by fulfilling the aspirations of the people, including the 15 million workers, most of whom were represented by MTUC.
“The government must listen to our pleas because we form a significant chunk of its support base. The Human Resource Ministry must stop undermining the MTUC,” he said.
He accused the ministry of pushing through amendments to labour laws “without any meaningful consultation” with the MTUC, and yet claimed otherwise in Parliament and publicly.
He cited an amendment to the Industrial Relations Act that, he said, made it possible for people to form as many unions as they want at a workplace or within an industry.
“This will lead to infighting among competing unions and will create industrial disharmony,” he said.
Solomon believes PH could reverse the political tide in its favour if its minister, backed by the civil service, engaged workers and unions to tackle the root causes of their hardship.
On Saturday, PH lost the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat to Barisan Nasional by more than 15,000 votes, the biggest margin ever in a by-election.