Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Employment Bill withdrawn

The Employment (Amend­ment) Bill 2010, which was listed for second reading in the Dewan Rakyat, has been withdrawn.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Maznah Mazlan withdrew the bill, which was first tabled on July 8.

When contacted yesterday, Human Re­­sources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the bill was withdrawn to enable the ministry to initiate changes and add more amendments.

He added that the bill would be re-tabled during this Parliament sitting.

To a question, Dr Subramaniam denied that the bill’s withdrawal was related to a nationwide picket organised by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) in seven places yesterday.

PSM had called for a picket to reject the proposed amendments of the bill and described them as the worst amendments made to labour laws.

Among the proposed amendments to the Bill included a move to fine employers up to RM10,000 for turning a blind eye to sexual harassment, provide better protection to pregnant workers and penalise employers who terminate the services of women employees during their maternity leave.

The bill also stipulates that wages of domestic helpers would have to be paid directly into their bank accounts.

The proposed amendments were met with differing opinions by NGOs and employers.

The MTUC supported the amendments of sexual harassment as such cases were usually ignored when a high-ranking personnel was involved.

The Malaysian Employers Federation said the bill on sexual harassment gave the impression that employers did not care about the problem.

Meanwhile, M. Kulasegaran (DAP - Ipoh Barat) has called for a review of the Industrial Relations Act 1967.

He said present regulations gave sole power to the Human Resources Minister to decide whether to refer a case to the Industrial Relations Court.

“The minister is the prosecutor, judge and jury. We feel that is not right,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby.

Kulasegaran said aggrieved employees should be allowed to institute legal action against their employers freely, just as in civil suits.

Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PKR - Kuala Langat) and M. Manogaran (DAP - Teluk Intan) called for a review of Section 20 (3) of the Industrial Relations Act, which gave the minister discretion to refer cases to the court.


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