Friday, February 28, 2014

MAS is embarassing Malaysia in the way that it is treating workers and their union

It is very sad that the Malaysian Airlines(MAS), which is a government-linked company, and the national carrier of Malaysia is not out there setting the best example of an employer that respects worker rights and trade union rights.

See also earlier posts:-

ITUC makes it 43 groups calling on MAS to revoke suspension on Union president

Friday February 28, 2014 MYT 7:28:33 AM

Four MAS flight attendants sacked for taking part in rally

PETALING JAYA: Four Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight attendants have been sacked for allegedly participating in a union rally in Putrajaya in November, says a union member.

National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) president Ismail Nasaruddin, who was also sacked, said the four had received their termination letters in February. 

Nufam members took part in a peaceful rally at the Human Resources Ministry on Nov 27.

It is understood that three of the sacked female attendants were on medical leave the day they came to the rally. 

Ismail, who was sacked two days after the rally, said the termination came after show-cause letters were issued to 30 crew members, including union exco members, over their involvement in the rally.

“The rally had nothing to do with MAS. We rallied for our union matters,” Ismail stressed. 

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Nufam said MAS had suspended the union’s secretary-general Mohd Akram Osman, a chief steward with the airline for 25 years, over his involvement in the same rally and for issuing a union circular using the company email. 

The union, however, said sending union circular through the company email facility has been the practice for many years and was never questioned by the airline. 

It urged MAS to withdraw all show cause letters issued to the 30 crew members and to stop union-busting activity against Nufam. 

“We are still waiting for the ministry and the airline to respond to the matter,” added Ismail.- Star, 28/2/2014,Four MAS flight attendants sacked for taking part in rally

 4:00PM Feb 27, 2014

MAS suspends union sec-gen, sacks others

Malaysia Airlines has suspended the secretary-general of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) and sacked three flight attendants, Nufam said.

This follows the issuance of 30 show cause letters to Nufam members and the sacking of the union president Ismail Nasaruddin.

In a statement yesterday, Nufam said that its secretary-general and a chief steward with MAS for 25 years Mohd Akram Osman (in white t-shirt) was suspended over his attendance at a Nufam rally and for issuing a union circular using MAS email.

However, Nufam said the rally at the Human Resources Ministry in Putrajaya on Nov 27 was during Mohd Akram's day off.

Nufam said MAS also sacked three other flight attendants for attending the rally while they were on medical leave.

It said that the women were issued medical chits by MAS' panel clinic who found them not fit enough to fly, and the chits were accepted by the airline.

“Although they were on medical leave, (it was) not specifically mentioned... that they should be confined at home,” it said, noting that MAS has no right to dictate what they should do on days off.

Nufam added that the flight attendants were not in their MAS uniforms during the rally and had attended in solidarity with the union.

Suspended for sending email

On its secretary-general, Nufam said that Mohd Akram was suspended for sending an email to Nufam executive secretary Mahmood Abdullah and had then forwarded the email to union members.

It said that this is not the first time Mohd Akram has used his MAS email for union matters, as he had done so for several years without problem.

It added that Mohd Akram was not attending an “illegal gathering” in Putrajaya as claimed by MAS, but was handing over a memorandum and meeting with Human Resources Ministry officials on union matters.

“MAS human resources managers were also present during the meeting... we have minutes of the meeting to prove (it),” it said.

It further reiterated its protest against the “summary dismissal” of Nufam president Ismail (pictured above, in cap) on Nov 29, which it claimed happened without a domestic inquiry.

It is understood that Ismail, who was sacked for calling for the replacement of MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (left), has brought the matter to the Industrial Court.

Condemning the various actions against its members, Nufam urged the government to view union-busting seriously and to enact a law to haul up errant employers.

Contacted on action on Ismail, Mohd Akram and dozens of other flight attendants, MAS told Malaysiakini that it has the right to take disciplinary action against its staff for allegedly breaching employee conduct.

It also denied that it is engaging in union-busting and that it was breaching industrial trade laws.- Malaysiakini, 27/2/2014, MAS suspends union sec-gen, sacks others

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

RM175 million for Malaysian government jets fuel and maintenance in 2012?

If the Malaysian government needs to save money, then they should sell those planes - after all, if the Prime Minister needs to travel anywhere, I am sure MAS, or even Air Asia could provide a plane. Alternatively, I believe he can use one of the Navy or Air Force planes - or just 'rent a plane'.

We, after all is not a rich country, but a country which has almost RM500 billion in debts...going 'almost bankrupt' and Malaysians are told that we will not be able to enjoy fuel, food, etc subsidies.... so, is it not time to dispose of the at least 5 planes Malaysia has and is maintaining...

Travel 'first class' on commercial airlines... or just keep one plane for emergency travel by the PM...or Ministers..

What's the use of 'showing off' that Malaysia is rich and we have so many planes ... be humble, save money for Malaysia - money that best could be used to help the poor in Malaysia


Mahathir: I did not need big, fancy jets

Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he did not need big luxury jets during his 22 years in power but added that perhaps the current government had more funds to afford such an indulgence.

Speaking at Angkasapuri after appearing on a RTM2 programme to mark his 11 years of retirement, the former prime minister said he even opted to downgrade his jet during his early years in office.

"In 1981, I inherited a Boeing 737 from the previous PM - he had problems travelling, so I can understand why he has to have a big plane.

"I used the plane for a short while and I asked them what is the cost. They told me it will cost the government RM2 million a year. Then (I decided) we sell the plane, I need a small plane. So it was reduced to a Challenger," he told reporters.

Last November, the Prime Minister's Department told Parliament that the government now owns at least five planes including a Boeing Business Jet.

The aircraft, meant for use by VVIPs, including the prime minister and the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, include a Falcon, Global Express, Boeing Business Jet, Blackhawk, two Augustas and a Fokker F28.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Shahidan Kassim said that in 2012, the costs for the jets were RM14.95 million in fuel and RM160.08 million in maintenance costs.

Mahathir was asked if he thought Najib's spending on jets were excessive.

'The government is much richer now'

"Well of course now, the government is much richer than during my time, then may be they should upgrade" he said.

Later, Mahathir said, he did loosen the government purse on jet spending for practical reasons.

"Subsequently, I bought a slightly bigger plane because I had to travel slightly longer distances. But when I stepped down, I didn't have these big planes," he said.

He then recalled that his government did buy one Boeing business jet for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. "But that was not for my use," he quickly added.

Opposition MPs recently questioned why, despite calls for austerity measures and the cutting back of subsidies and raising of taxes to cure the government deficit, the prime minister and his wife Rosmah Mansor went around in private jets.

Defending the move, Rosmah said that her use of the government jet for a trip to the Middle East was referred to the cabinet and that her travels were for 'work' purposes.

She said this response to criticism of her use of the jet for the trip to Qatar, which was raised in Parliament by Gombak MP Azmin Ali.

Last week, pro-Umno bloggers also asked whether Najib had not one but two luxury jets in service, as an Airbus ACJ320 was reportedly leased to the government.

The Prime Minister's Office said the lease of the Airbus ACJ320, which began on Feb 1, 2013, ended on Dec 31 that year.

The lease of the Airbus ACJ320 was necessary because of a shortage of government aircraft, it added. - Yahoo! News Malaysia

Wrong for Malaysia toeven further increase healthcare charges for foreigners - migrant workers? foreign spouse? students?

Malaysian constitution proudly proclaims equality for all persons, not just amongst citizens, and as such it is sad that Malaysia wants to charge foreigners so much more for heathcare in government hospitals/clinics - let's not forget so many Malaysians also go overseas or are overseas studying/working, and if they get sick or is involved in an accident would Malaysia also not want that they have access to healthcare facilities cheaply and at the same rate as the citizens in that country?

In Malaysia, we already charge foreigners 1st class rates at government healthcare facilities, for registration itself, they pay RM50 whilst Malaysians pay RM1. And, now this government wants to increase the charges even more.. seeMigrant Workers should not be charged 1st class rates at government hospitals in Malaysia

Foreign Spouses - people married to Malaysians, don't they deserve special consideration? Should they not be paying the same as Malaysians?

Migrant Workers - well Malaysia and employers in the country need them - so, is it justified charging them higher rates? I would say NO.

Now, is someone is sick...the priority is that they should go see a doctor and get treated. If too expensive, many of these foreigners will not be seeking healthcare, and would this not just endanger the general public, including Malaysians who live in close proximity with migrant workers, not just at the workplaces but everywhere.

When a foreigner meets with an accident, is it not human to treat them irrespective of whether they can pay or not?

When it comes to migrant workers, their healthcare should rightly be taken care by their employers - enact laws that makes this so. It is wrong to oppress workers with such already high rates for healthcare.

Lastly, these rates should really not affect migrant workers and/or students that are already here in Malaysia - maybe, for those who will come in the future, it may be alright - but I wonder how many migrant workers will want to come to work in Malaysia with such high heathcare rates? How many students as well?

Healthcare must be free for all - it is OK to have a higher fees for foreigners visiting Museums, Zoos and other 'touristy' places...

Subramaniam: Foreigners will soon pay actual medical costs

Subramaniam: Foreigners will soon pay actual medical costs
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam - File pic 
PUTRAJAYA: Foreigners in the country will soon be paying the actual medical costs incurred by them at the government clinics and hospitals in the next few months, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said currently foreigners including workers and students who sought medical treatment at government clinics and hospitals enjoyed the medical subsidy of 30 to 40 percent.

He said the implementation of the actual medical costs would enable the government to save up to RM100 million annually which could be used to further improve the quality of health and medical services in the country.

"So, we are finalising on the cost and after it has undergone several processes including tabling at the cabinet and gazetting, we will implement it," he said at a media conference after attending the ministry's monthly assembly, here on Monday.

At the event, Dr Subramaniam also launched the ministry's official logo with the motto "Kami Sedia Membantu" (We Are Ready To Help) which will be adopted by all health departments, institutions, units and agencies besides in the correspondence and portal of the ministry.

He explained that in several European countries such as the United Kingdom, foreigners were required to have their personal medical policies, otherwise the patients concerned were forced to bear all their medical costs.

"For example, in the United Kingdom if you are not part of the national health care system, you have to pay the full cost and that is not cheap, very expensive," he said.

He also called on Malaysians to appreciate the health services contributed by the government which was providing a subsidy of up to 98 percent.

Meanwhile, Dr Subramaniam said a sum of RM1.9 billion was being allocated by the government this year (2014) for the development of government hospitals and clinics throughout the country including the construction of new additional blocks and upgrading works.

Story first published on: February 25, 2014 08:18 (MYT) - Astro Awani, 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

PKNS termination of workers - was there a DI and payments of compensation?

Will the defeat of the Barisan Nasional, and the rise of Pakatan Rakyat be better for workers? That has been the question in the minds of many, and looking at the commitments made in the last General Elections, it is all still very vague.

PR never even made a stand that they will bolish the 'contractor for labour' system, that received statutory recognition in 2012. Now Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC), that represents ALL workers and Unions, other unions and civil society strongly objected the 'contractor for labour' - which destroys direct employment relationship with them that need workers for their factories and businesses. The effect is that employers can not only avoid employer obligations for after all these 'workers' are not their own employees - but merely workers supplied by some other 3rd party. These allows also for real discrimination amongst workers working in the same workplace. The '3rd party supplied-workers' also will not be able to join the Trade Union existing at the workplace or enjoy benefits from any Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA), being agreements between employers and the Trade Union representing their employees only.

PR also failed to make concrete commitment to restoring the right to regular employment until retirement, and stopping the use of short-term employment contracts, which are most precarious.

PR, it is said would do the needful as and when it comes into power at the Federal level - but alas it would certainly be better if they gave clear concrete commitments on matters affecting workers and trade unions - if not, when in power, it may all be 'delayed' or just forgotten. In the past, many of the Pakatan Rakyat parties, were always there voicing out against worker rights violations - but nowadays, silence...I did not even see any statement from PR or its component parties when DRB HICOM subsidiaries terminated 18 workers just for handing a Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) memorandum to contesting candidates in GE13 to get their commitment to worker issues and concern. On the other hand, other Opposition Parties like Parti Rakyat Malaysia(PRM) and Parti Socialis Malaysia(PSM) still continues to stand with workers whose rights have been violated.

Now, we have a case in Pakatan-ruled Selangor, which allegedly saw some 20 workers on fixed-term contracts being terminated, after being given 24 hours notice. And few questions on worker rights should be asked...

1 - DOMESTIC INQUIRY - before a worker can be terminated, the rules of natural justice demand that the worker who is about to be dismissed should be accorded a Domestic Inquiry. In a domestic inquiry, the employer should present sufficient evidence to proof that an employee has breached the contract or committed a serious misconduct that warrants termination. The accussed worker, who should have the right to be represented by a lawyer, a Union rep or a fellow worker, would be allowed the right to be heard, which includes the right to challenge evidence and witnesses forwarded by the employer. The Domestic Inquiry is presided by an independent panel, who at the end of the day makes a final determination as to whether there has been a breach of contract or a serious misconduct that warrants termination, and makes their finding known to the employer who makes the final decision whether to terminate or not, or impose a lesser penalty. Was there even a show cause letter issued to these workers?

2 - TERMINATION BENEFITS - well, unlike regular employees where termination benefits are calculated based on their length of service, etc, the situation is and must be different for fixed-term contract workers, and rightly they should be paid compensation based on the number of months remaining multiplied by their monthly wages/benefit and more for the premature breach of contract by the employer. We are not hearing much about whether they were even paid termination benefits, compensation, etc.

On the face of it, the actions of PKNS is draconian and being a government body, this is even more unacceptable. Worker rights must be respected...

Being a government or government body, there may be justification to remove workers appointed by some previous government, or those that are acting against government policy - but still there must be due process - the show cause letter, domestic inquiry...and at the end of the day, termination/lay-off/retrenchment benefits paid to these workers...

We are not animals, cry axed PKNS staff

One of the former staff of PKNS Holdings whose contract was unexpectedly terminated yesterday has lashed out at the state-linked company, likening their treatment to that of animals.

"Who is responsible for us? Is this how you treat us? We are not animals," former Marketing Division head Aliff Aiman (right) cried out at a press conference today.

Aliff is one of some 20 contract workers affected by the 24-hour notice served on them by the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS) subsidiary that their contracts would not be renewed.

An emotional Aliff said his former employer had acted unfairly on those brought in to increase the level of PKNS’ professionalism in the first place.

"We are humans, what’s more we are all Muslims. Even non-Muslim companies would not do this," he said at the Industrial Relations Department.

He said he, alongside the other terminated staff, had gone to meet with the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) and the ministry to study the legal options for redress they could take.

Livelihoods taken away

Meanwhile, Rina Sharif, who was, till yesterday, PKNS group human resources division head, said 19 staff received their termination notice yesterday and that a further 19 would suffer the same fate soon.

Rina said some employees some still have six months to two years left to serve out their contracts when it was ended.

"I was the HR (head) for 18 years. Where has a contract been terminated like this. This is not a 24-hour notice of termination, it was immediate.

"The jobs were the staff’s livelihood," she told Malaysiakini when approached.

Yesterday, PKNS Holdings terminated the contracts of some 20 workers, giving them a 24-hour notice.

Meanwhile, PKNS in a statement today said the contracts were terminated in a "restructuring operation" due to redundancies between the contract and permanent staff.- Malaysiakini, We are not animals, cry axed PKNS staff (5/2/2014)

Will the States amend laws to be in line with the 10-point solution? Will Selangor?

Sometimes, one wonders whether this 'religious issue' is nothing than an attempt to distract Malaysians from the real issues that we must be concerned with... like how Malaysian debt which was about RM100 billion in stands at about RM500 billion? Like how come workers in Malaysia is losing their right to regular employment until retirement? Like how come GLC companies are being a bad example when it comes to respecting worker & trade union rights? Lynas? ...

Well, when it comes to this 'Allah' issue, the problem is in State laws - but why is Pakatan Rakyat not making a commitment to amend these laws - that laws that prohibits non-Muslims using certain Arabic words? 

There are some States with constitutions that prescribes the religion of the Menteri Besar and some other, and this includes Selangor - so is the Pakatan Rakyat ruled Selangor amend the law to be in line with democracy...with our own Federal Constitution?


Idris: 10-point fix not against state Islamic laws

The 10-point solution outlined by the cabinet in 2011 does not contradict various state enactments outlawing use of the Bible for propagation, and the Court of Appeal’s decision on the ‘Allah’ ban, said Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Idris Jala.

While noting that the issue is highly sensitive, Idris (left), in his opinion piece published by Kinibiz today, explained that the 10-point fix does not condone non-Muslims propagating non-Islamic faiths to Muslims.

“In other words, the Alkitab is allowed on a conditional basis that is for use by Christians, their churches and congregations and non-Muslims.

“However, if anyone uses the Alkitab or uses any of the prohibited words to propagate non-Islamic faiths to Muslims, then he will contravene the relevant Islamic laws,” said Idris, one of the architects behind the 10-point solution announced in April 2011.

Idris felt the 10-point solution can co-exist with Islamic state enactments, although he is aware there are people who view the co-existence is imperfect.

The 10-point solution allows the importation and printing of the Alkitab in Bahasa Malaysia or indigenous languages, to be used in churches in Sabah and Sarawak.

“In summary, the 10-point solution permits the Alkitab, conditionally in Peninsular Malaysia but unconditionally in Sabah and Sarawak. It does not condone the propagation of non-Muslim faiths to Muslims, whether or not they use any of these prohibited words.”

In explaining further, he said it is not an offence for non-Muslims to sing the Selangor anthem, which contains the word ‘Allah’ in the lyrics because merely singing or uttering them in the anthem does not constitute “propagation”.

In the case of Catholic weekly The Herald, the minister said it is based on the use of powers accorded to the home minister under the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, which is to prohibit use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of the publication of the newsletter.

“In this case, the home minister has used his discretionary power in accordance with the law, upon being satisfied that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in The Herald’s publication could cause sensitivities, which in turn threatens public order and security.

“The Court of Appeal has ruled that the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Alkitab is different from its use in The Herald newspaper as seen from the distribution angle of the publications,” Idris said.

Torching of churches

The Bible or Alkitab, Idris said, is allowed on condition that it be used in the church and for the Christian community, while The Herald is a newsletter that can be accessed by all.

Based on those facts, the usage may result in religious sensitivity and ultimately threaten public order and security.

He said the incidents of the torching of some churches in Peninsular Malaysia have been cited as evidence in the court hearing at the appellate court.

Idris said the court in allowing the appeal by the Home Ministry, ruled:

• The minister acted in accordance with his discretionary power in accordance with the law. The minister was also found not to be acting outside established principles for his decision to be set aside by the court.

• The executive is the best body to decide on matters of public order and security. In this case, the court found the High Court had erred when deciding that there is no evidence to show that there has been a threat to public order and security.

The appellate court further concluded that the law allows the minister to make decisions without waiting for threats or violence and is sufficient should there potentially be an occurrence of threat to public order and security. The court also took into account the violence that occurred after the High Court’s decision.

• That the prohibition of the use of the word ‘Allah’ in the Bahasa Malaysia version of The Herald, which is a translation of the English word – “God” in a newspaper, will not prevent the Christian community from practicing their religion and therefore does not violate the right to freedom of religion under Article 11 of the Federal Constitution.

However despite the COA decision, Idris believes differences or conflicts on religious issues are best dealt with via dialogue and discussions rather than through the courts. - Malaysiakini, 24/2/2014, Idris: 10-point fix not against state Islamic laws

Friday, February 21, 2014

2.98 million RELA only about 112,000 police - shocking!!! RELA only now being screened at rate of 5.000 per month?

Malaysia's population should be about 30 million in 2013....and in July 2013, we were informed that there are about 112,583 persons in our police force, and this figures include those involved in administrative work as well. We have about 1 police personnel to every 260 persons in Malaysia

In terms of crime prevention, we are told we have the Criminal Investigation Department(10,150 personel), Narcotics Crime Investigation Department(4,224) dan Commercial Crimes Investigation Department(1,663) - hence the sum total is 16,037, which also includes those in the office and clerks.-- and about 1 police personnel from a Crime Investigation Department for every 1,870 persons.

When people make a police report about a crime - the officers that investigate are known as Investigation Officers. These are persons that go out investigate cases, find and question witnesses, collect evidences, etc - all things necessary in identifying perpetrators of crime, adducing sufficient evidence that would be required to properly prosecute the 'suspect'/accused in court - It is a 'skilled job' which requires a competent professional personnel. Investigating any reported crime takes time and effort and usually it is best that there is really at least 2 investigation officers for any crime being investigated, supported with a team.

There is a rise in crime - but alas now we cannot get numbers from the Police website, which we could before, - but today we only get some 'crime index'.

There is no statistics of the number of crimes that were reported, number of crimes that were investigated, number of successful investigation leading to arrest and prosecutions, number of successful prosecutions... To efectively be able to solve crimes and gets the perpetrators prosecuted, we need good INVESTIGATION OFFICERS in the police...and we need a lot of them, so that they can spend enough time for a thorough investigation...

If there is not enough Investigation Officers(IOs), or they are just 'over-burdened' with too many cases - then, most likely many, many cases that have been reported will just end up never been thoroughly the question is how many Investigation Officers(IOs) do we have now - and how many more do we need? 

3 million RELA is not what we need - but certainly in increase in the number of intelligent skilled Investigation Officers the police.. 



KUALA LUMPUR 10 Julai - Jumlah anggota pasukan polis yang terlibat dalam menangani jenayah masih tidak mencukupi di negara ini.

Timbalan Menteri Dalam Negeri, Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar berkata, biarpun jumlah keseluruhan pegawai dan anggota dalam organisasi Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) seramai 112,583 orang, namun jumlah itu meliputi mereka yang terlibat dalam kerja-kerja pengurusan.

Jelas beliau, daripada jumlah itu, tiga jabatan di bawah pasukan itu terlibat khusus dalam pembanterasan jenayah iaitu Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah (10,150 anggota), Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Narkotik (4,224) dan Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Komersial (1,663).

"Jumlah keseluruhan tiga jabatan ini iaitu 16,037 anggota juga termasuk mereka yang berada di pejabat sebagai kerani dan sebagainya, oleh itu tidak ramai yang betul-betul bertugas khusus menangani jenayah. - Utusan Online, 11/7/2013, Jumlah anggota polis masih tidak cukup tangani jenayah

15 individuals stripped off Rela membership

15 individuals stripped off Rela membership 
KUCHING: Fifteen individuals have been stripped of their People's Volunteer Corps (Rela) membership due to involvement in various offences, including in criminal activity, Rela director-general and Chief Commissioner Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim said.

He said of the total, three were Rela full-time administration officers and the rest were volunteers.

"Among the offences committed by these individuals were conducting operations without permission, impersonating an enforcement officer, accepting bribe and blackmailing.

"The action taken against them is proof that Rela is firm and will not compromise with members who commit any wrong-doing," he told a press conference on the state-level celebration of Rela's 42nd Anniversary, here Friday. Also present was Sarawak Rela Director Rini Tupong.

The celebration will be held at the Borneo Convention Centre here on Feb 10, and is expected to be officiated by Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Mustafa also said Rela would submit the names of its members, now numbered 2.98 million, as well as potential new members, to the police in stages for screening purposes.

"A total of 5,000 names have been submitted to the police this month,
" he said.

Meanwhile, Mustafa called on the public to be wise in assessing and not to be hasty in making conclusions when reading about criminal cases involving Rela members as most of the case were committed when they were off duty and did not involved the Corps.

"Rela has 2.98 members nationwide and the corps is administered by 1,150 full-time staff or civil servants. When they are on duty and wearing their uniforms, they receive allowance, but off duty, they do not have any power. If they were caught committing a crime outside their working hours, it is wrong to refer to them as Rela members," he added.

Story first published on: January 25, 2014 08:00 (MYT)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Corporal punishment of children by parents - what do we as Malaysians say?

What is the Malaysian position on child abuse and corporal punishment? When this couple was first arrested, Malaysians came up in defence of the couple - of course, then the picture given was that they had once beaten a child for not praying - but now as we get more information...there is doubts. Of course, they are innocent until proven guilty....

It may be time for Malaysian authorities to also start their own investigations into this case... Do we have laws that protect children from 'abuse' by parents? What are the legal remedies? Counseling for perpetrators and children... 

Should we follow Sweden and enact similar laws in Malaysia?

‘I’ve become used to being hit by mum,’ Malaysian child tells Swedish court

February 19, 2014
Children of Malaysian Muslim couple Azizul Raheem Awalludin and his wife Shalwati Nurshal with Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin  after they arrived at Kuala Lumpur on February 1, 2014. — AFP pic 

Children of Malaysian Muslim couple Azizul Raheem Awalludin and his wife Shalwati Nurshal with Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin after they arrived at Kuala Lumpur on February 1, 2014. — AFP pic 

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 19 — The children of the Malaysian couple facing charges in Sweden for alleged child abuse have suggested that they suffer regular beatings at the hands of their mother, with one child even saying that they no longer hurt

Citing statements from the children, Swedish news portal The Local reported that the children’s mother — Shalwati Norshal — has been hitting her kids for several years, even using items like a piece of wood, a coat hanger and a belt.

“I’ve become used to being hit by mum,” one of the children was quoted as saying.

“She started hitting me in the back and on the leg. Then she pinched me on the ear and hit me on the head,” another child reportedly said.

Shalwati, a secondary school teacher, previously claimed to have only beaten one child once.

She and her husband Azizul Raheem Awaluddin, who is a Tourism Malaysia officer based in Stockholm, stood trial at the Solna district court yesterday for assaulting their four children — who are aged between seven and 14 years — and for committing gross violation of their children’s integrity.

Azizul was reported by The Local as saying during an interrogation that he only beat his children the second time that they had done something wrong in order to “discipline them”.

According to another news report by local English daily The New Straits Times today, the prosecution’s multiple charges against the couple also include Azizul forcing one of the children to sit in a corner for eight hours without food.

The 12-year-old son also reportedly wrote a letter in which he apologised to his mother, saying “it was my anger that started this. I will always love you and nothing will change that.”

Another local daily, The Star, reported today Shalwati’s lawyer, Kristofer Stahre, as saying in court that the letter was found during a check in the couple’s house, but that the prosecution declined to tender it as evidence.

Prosecutor Anna Arnell was reported as saying that the letter was not taken by the prosecution because it appeared to be private communication between family members.

Shalwati and Azizul are accused of hitting their children at their home in Stockholm between September 15, 2010, and December 17, 2013.

They face between six months and six years’ jail for each charge.

The trial is set for 10 days until March 10.

The couple was detained on December 18 last year after being accused of beating their children for not praying.

Sweden, in 1979, was the first country in the world to outlaw corporal punishment. - Malay Mail Online, 19/2/2014, ‘I’ve become used to being hit by mum,’ Malaysian child tells Swedish court

Monday, February 17, 2014

Malaysian Airlines takes disciplinary SG of NUFAM and 30 others - Union Busting?

Malaysian Airlines is at it again with regards the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), and now it is allegedly the Secretary General of the Union and 30 others...NUFAM alleges that this action is with regard a picket at the Ministry of Human Resources on 27/12/2013...

As it is Malaysian laws have taken away so many fundamental freedoms and rights...and it must be noted that (1) this picket was not even a NUFAM organized picket; (2) NUFAM members were really there for another meeting at the Ministry...(3) Even the police did not take any action against this protest...

NUFAM is a registered trade union, and when MAS refused to accord recognition to the union, a secret ballot was conducted by the Ministry in MAS to determine whether NUFAM had sufficient support from the employees of MAS qualified to join this Union, and the result was that NUFAM managed to get 62.73% on or about July 2013 - that is more than 50%, which naturally means that it will be accorded recognition - but alas, this employer(MAS), also a government-linked company(GLC) was not happy and is apparently challenging the secret ballot...and the recognition of NUFAM in the High Court. 

We remember that on or about 8/11/2013 that MAS suspended the President of NUFAM, and thereafter 29/11/2013 he was terminated, allegedly without any Domestic Inquiry. We recall, the Joint Statement below that was issued by 43 groups, including also the International Trade Union Confederation.

Now, MAS has commenced disciplinary actions against Ismail Nasaruddin, and according to a Malaysiakini report, it is allegedly because MAS said Ismail had acted in contradiction with his duties as a chief steward of the airline by issuing the statement. (Malaysiakini, 14/11/2011, MAS suspends chief steward for criticising CEO)

Thereafter, there were further suspension...some of whom were reinstated...
Malaysian Airlines is embarassing Malaysia and Malaysians - we respect worker rights and union rights.
MAS should just reinstate the President of NUFAM and any others who have been terminated, and revoke all suspensions.
MAS must immediately withdraw its High Court action challenging the 'secret ballot' and recognition.
MAS must respect worker rights to picket, protest and freedom of expression. Trying to commence disciplinary actions based on comments in NUFAM's FB page is pathetic. Next, we will have disciplinary actions by reason of comments made to friends at a coffee shop, comments made to spouses and family... 

Joint Statement – 3/12/2013- now 43
MAS Must Immediately Revoke Suspension of Union President Ismail Nasaruddin
Worker Right Issue Should Be Resolved By Negotiations Not ‘Union Busting’
We, the 43 undersigned civil society groups, trade unions and organizations are disturbed by the news that Malaysian Airlines, a government linked company, has suspended the president of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM), Ismail Nasaruddin in connection with a statements made to the media by the Union, which amongst others suggested that MAS’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO),  Ahmad Jauhari Yahya who was appointed in 2011, should resign. Ismail was allegedly suspended without allowances with immediate effect starting Nov 8 following a news report quoting him that was published on the same day.

According to a news report, ‘…NUFAM Secretariat said it is calling on the prime minister to review Jauhari's contract and remove him as the CEO of MAS, which is a government appointed position, unhappy that there has been no changes in resolving the cabin crew's problems…’ (The Sun Daily, 8/11/2013, NUFAM calls for resignation of MAS' CEO).

Amongst the alleged grievances being raised by NUFAM, which represents 3,500 cabin crew at Malaysia Airlines (MAS), as was contained in the said Sun Daily report are:-

· New policy imposed by MAS on a weight control ruling where cabin crew are told to reduce their weight to achieve a certain body mass index within three to six months. Failure to do so would result in an automatic transfer to ground work. The new rule is also a blanket policy and affects all cabin crew members including those who have just returned from maternity leave and may find it difficult to drastically lose weight within a short time frame;

· Cabin crew who joined in 2004 or later are no longer able to enjoy the transport services provided by the airline for pick-up from home, and Ismail said this is unfair to those who joined in 2004 or later, as they had signed contracts that included transportation as part of the benefits; and

· That the MAS management have allegedly cut costs drastically which affected the cabin crew resulting also a failure to review allowances and salaries.

We are especially concerned with this ‘weight control ruling’ which certainly is discriminatory against women, especially to those returning from pregnancy. Increase of body mass index sometimes may be beyond the control of a human being, and this really should not be used to affect their employment.

NUFAM alleges that it wants MAS to sit down with the Union to discuss and negotiate a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA/CA) but apparently MAS is not interested to do so at this moment, citing as reason some judicial review.

Now, MAS has commenced disciplinary actions against Ismail Nasaruddin, and according to a Malaysiakini report, it is allegedly because MAS said Ismail had acted in contradiction with his duties as a chief steward of the airline by issuing the statement. (Malaysiakini, 14/11/2011, MAS suspends chief steward for criticising CEO)

Now, clearly the statements were made by Ismail in his capacity as President of the Union, representing some 3,500 workers, and as such he has the duty and obligation to fight for the rights of workers and that includes applying pressure on the employer and even calling for the removal of any of such employer’s officers or even Directors who is standing in the way of a prompt resolution of the dispute. Unlike employers, every day that a worker’s issues is not resolved, it is the workers that will continue to suffer. A prompt resolution is best and just.

No worker, group of workers or unions should be barred from making public statements to the media or otherwise in the struggle for worker rights and human rights. This right is clearly acknowledged in the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, commonly known today as the UN Human Rights Defender Declaration.

We condemn the action of Malaysian Airlines (MAS) in commencing disciplinary actions against a Union leader, and urge MAS to immediately stop this and revoke the suspension of Ismail Nasaruddin.

We call on MAS to immediately sit down, negotiate and resolve these outstanding worker issues with the trade union rather than resorting to ‘union busting’ strategies which include disciplinary actions against  worker and union leaders who dare to fight for worker rights.

We call on the Malaysian government to immediately to act, given the fact of the much influence it has in a government-linked company like MAS, to ensure that justice is done for Ismail Nasaruddin, the Union and its members.

Senator Syed Shahir bin Syed Mohamud
Charles Hector
Mohd Roszeli bin Majid
Pranom Somwong
For and on behalf of the following 43 civil society groups, trade unions and organizations

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC)
Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
CWI Malaysia (Committee For A Workers International  Malaysia)
Damn the Dams
Dignity International-Asia
Friends of Burma
Human Rights Ambassador for, United Kingdom
Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas(JERIT)
Kesatuan Eksekutif AIROD (KEA)
Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Polyplastics Asia Pacific
Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)
MADPET (Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture)
Malaysians for Beng Hock
Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
MTUC Pahang
National Union of Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers (NUHBRW)
Network of Action For Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
Paper and Paper Products Manufacturing Employees Union (PPPMEU)
Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA)  
Parti Rakyat Malaysia (PRM)
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
Partido ng Manggagawa (Labor Party-Philippines) 
Pax Romana-ICMICA Asia
Peoples' Green Coalition
Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor
Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee
Sarawak Dayak Iban Association[SADIA]
Tenaga Nasional Junior Officers Union (TNBJOU)
The Filipino Women's Organization in Quebec
WIRDA (Women’s Institute Research Development and Advancement), Malaysia
Women’s Centre for Change Penang
Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
Yayasan LINTAS NUSA – Batam, Indonesia

Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)

Law and Society Trust.Colombo Sri Lanka
ITUC(International Trade Union Confederation)

Using of the 'affecting image of the company' a misconduct is pathetic and must be stopped - because of course the one who perceives that he/she is victimized or being treated unjustly or unreasonably should have the full right to highlight these injustices and lobby for support ....and in so doing he/she must certainly name the perpetrator of the wrong. Not sure, whether MAS is also using this 'affecting image of the company' misconduct or not - but really if so, such is a lame means to stifle the ability of workers and/or the union to fight for better rights for its members and workers generally...
This was also done by DRB-HICOM companies, another GLC, in Pekan

We understand that the charges leveled against the workers are (1) undermining the image or good name of the company orally, in writing or by action, and (2) bringing about or trying to bring about any form of influence or outside pressure to submit or support any external claim that is related to service be it an individual claim or claims of other employees. Now 51 groups call on DRB HICOM TO RESPECT THE CITIZENS’ RIGHT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS IN MALAYSIA
When GLCs do this, and the Malaysian government is not doing anything - it indicates that this government is really not bothered much about workers and worker rights. Malaysian government can easily 'tell' or influence all GLCs to be a good example and stop violating worker and union rights - in fact, facilitate the speedy formation and recognition of Trade Unions... On both, the MAS case and the DRB-HICOM case, sadly Najib or his Ministers has made no public statement...
It is also sad that media is not giving space or emphasis to highlight worker issues, causes and struggles... and even when they do, it is a mystery why many a time they mention not the name of the employer...or they they portray worker protests negatively...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Worker died not in factory...and alcohol bottles found - so DOSH says migrant worker deaths not linked to occupational health and safety??

Well, the latest Malaysiakini report entitled 'DOSH clears sawmill over deaths of Nepali workers' whereby it is reported that the Department of Occupational Health and Safety (DOSH) clears the sawmill of responsibility for the deaths (yes...deaths...the last being on 11 January 2014) and goes further to blame it on alcohol?[Of course, again there is no mention of the name of the factory or the we are left in the dark - why do they 'protect' employers in such a manner?

What exactly did the DOSH do? Was an autopsy conducted on the dead Nepali migrant worker? Was the cause of death established? What is 'sudden death' really? Was there any correlation with alcohol consumption at all, and if so what was this? In any event, was similar autopsy and investigations even conducted with the earlier deaths of migrant workers at all? Or is this just a case of 'racial profiling'? How many young people really die 'suddenly'...claiming 'breathing difficulty' by reason of alcohol consumption? Well, was there even alcohol in the blood of the deceased...was there even proof that the deceased was an 'alcoholic'? All that is said in the report, is that 'deaths were most likely alcohol-related' and 'Investigations found that bottles of alcoholic drinks were scattered around the place of death.' - so this sudden death by reason of alcohol consumption??

DOSH says that 'The deaths were most likely alcohol-related and not due to hazardous materials in the factory' - what about sawdust or wood dust in the lungs of the dead worker, for after all was it not a sawmill?

What about this comment by DOSH - “The victims died while in the workers hostel and outside working hours....“Following the probe, we conclude that there is no evidence that this is linked to occupational health and safety,” Mohamad Jais said...Come now, it matters not whether the victim died during working hours at the workplace or at home - we are not talking about an 'industrial accident' here - the question is whether the death is caused by the working environment. What about safety and protection clothing/masks during working hours. Further, this is a case of workers living in accommodation provided by employer(or determined by the employer) - hence if the death is caused by reason of poor living conditions, would not the employer also be liable?

Here, we are talking about not one death ...but several deaths - and would not this be not 'normal' - more investigation is certainly needed to get to the truth... we are talking about loss of human lives....worker lives... and we demand transparency - let the said DOSH report be made public... 

Something caused the deaths of these workers, and justice need to done...

See earlier posts:-

Did Malaysian Government investigate alleged deaths of workers at Besgrade Products Sdn Bhd?

Workers urge employer to get sick worker healthcare - employer calls police - worker dies - media call it 'Riot"?

Will the AG charge the employer for the death of the Nepali worker in Pokok Sena, Kedah? Will there be an autopsy to determine cause of death?


DOSH clears sawmill over deaths of Nepali workers

The Department of Occupational Health and Safety (DOSH) has cleared a sawmill in Kedah over a several deaths among its foreign workers.

The deaths were most likely alcohol-related and not due to hazardous materials in the factory, as activists suspect, Kedah DOSH director Mohamad Jais Suratman told Malaysiakini.

“The victims died while in the workers hostel and outside working hours. Investigations found that bottles of alcoholic drinks were scattered around the place of death.

“Following the probe, we conclude that there is no evidence that this is linked to occupational health and safety,” Mohamad Jais said in a statement to Malaysiakini, one month after the last reported death.

However, he did not respond to Parti Sosialis Malaysia's claim that the last death on Jan 11 could have been avoided if the sawmill supervisor had provided medical aid.

According to a report in The Star, 200 Nepali workers demonstrated at the sawmill in Pokok Sena for two hours before being dispersed.

Kota Setar police Traffic and Public Order chief Mat Akhir Jaafar confirmed that three men were arrested to facilitate investigations.

Mat Akhir also said the three deaths – all involving Nepali workers – have been classified as ‘sudden deaths’.

PSM lodged a police report, saying that negligence led to the death of at least one of three workers.

Malaysiakini contacted the sawmill several times on this matter last month, but the sawmill has not responded. - Malaysiakini. 12/2/2014, DOSH clears sawmill over deaths of Nepali workers

Protest letter to Cambodia Embassy - condemning violence against workers

11  Feb 2014- 10.30 am, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia-Today. 

14 representative from Trade Unions and NGOs  organized a delegation  and submitted the  protest letter to the  embassy representative-Chhay Kosal, third secretary (Consular and Administration) at the embassy.and conveyed the protest messages and demands.

The  delegate of Malaysia trade unions is led by the Gopal Krisnan Nadesan, Secretary General, Malaysia Trade Union Congress . There are also the Malaysia affliate members of the global unions.

This action is also part of solidarity action that called by the Global Unions: ITUC, IndustrialALL and UNI.

The delegate conveyed the demands to the Cambodia government:
  • Release the 23 workers (list attached)
  • Undertake a prompt and thorough investigation into violence used against protesters;
  • Respect the right to freedom of association, in line with ILO Convention 87 which Cambodia has ratified;
  • Introduce of a legal framework consistent with Convention 87 and with the collective bargaining Convention 98; and,
  • Institute a sound and inclusive process for determining the minimum wage.

The representative of the Embassy acknowledged the letter and will convey the messages to the Cambodia government.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary,
H.R.H. Samdech Reach Botrei Preah Anoch Norodom Arunrasmy,
Embassy of the Kingdom of Cambodia,
11 Feb 2014

Respect Workers Rights in Cambodia

Your excellency,

On behalf of concerned civil society members in Malaysia we write to condemn the violence perpetrated by members of the police and armed forces against striking garment workers. 

In December 2013, the government announced a new minimum wage increase, one that fell far below a living wage. The original offer of $95 (now $100) per month is truly insufficient to satisfy the basic needs of any Cambodian worker. It is also incompatible with Article 104 of the Cambodian Labour Code, which guarantees the payment of a wage that “must ensure every worker of a decent standard of living compatible with human dignity”.

Workers decided to withhold their labour on 24 December, as is their fundamental right under international law and the Cambodian Labour Code, to campaign for a higher minimum wage. Instead of negotiating with workers, the government decided to resort to violence and intimidation. Heavily armed police and soldiershaverepeatedly mobilized in early Januaryto quash the protests, leading to violent and bloody clashes. Four workers were killed and 39 injured. 23 workers were arrested. Legal summonses have been issued for union leaders.

We call on the government to immediately release all arrested workers, to ensure the provisionof medical treatment for the injured and to return to the bargaining table, with the representatives of workers and employers, to reach an agreementon a just minimum wage for the textile and garment industry.This requires the following actions:

  • Release the 23 workers (list attached)
  • Undertake a prompt and thorough investigation into violence used against protesters;
  • Respect the right to freedom of association, in line with ILO Convention 87 which Cambodia has ratified;
  • Introduce of a legal framework consistent with Convention 87 and with the collective bargaining Convention 98; and,
  • Institute a sound and inclusive process for determining the minimum wage.
As a member of the ILO and having ratified ILO Convention 87 in 1999, the government must also respect the right of unions and workers to exercise their right to freedom of association, including the right to strike, without threat or intimidation.

There is no question that the conduct of the authorities constitutes a flagrant violation of human rights, including freedom of association.We await your immediate action to restore industrial and social peace based on respect for fundamental human rights.


1. Asia Floor Wage Alliance

2. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor

3. Dignity International

4. Pax Romana ICMICA

5. Committee for Asian Women

6. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas-JERIT

7.Malaysia Trade Union Congress

8. Member of Parliament – Charles Santiago

9. Junior Officers Union Tenaga Nasional Berhad

10. National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers

11. Community Action Network (CAN)

12. Food Not Bombs- KL

13. Electrical Industry Workers union (EIWU)