By Adrian Lim
KUCHING, Apr 11: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has called on the federal government to introduce Emergency Employment Regulations to protect the interests and ‘rice bowl’ of workers in Malaysia.
MTUC secretary-general J Solomon in a statement said the federal government needs to take bold initiatives to introduce the Emergency Employment Regulations to restrict employers from retrenching workers during the period of movement control order (MCO).
He explained that the livelihood of millions of low income workers especially the B40 income group and M40 income group are at stake if they lose their jobs.
Thus, Solomon appealed to the federal government to look into the plight faced by low-income workers and assist them during MCO.
He said, “The Emergency Employment Regulation is a short-term measure to keep both employees and employers afloat while the government draws up a long-term exit plan from the MCO before moving on to normal operations.
“The survival of workers is just as essential as keeping businesses alive for any economic recovery to take place in our beloved nation. Let’s not prioritise one over the other for selfish reasons,” he said, adding that it was better for the national economy in the long-term to ensure workers kept their jobs and that their income was not affected by unfair pay cuts.
Considering that it is an established fact that workers in the B40 category have the highest propensity to consume, he reasoned that these workers would play a crucial role in kick-starting the economy post-MCO.
“Helping workers to stay afloat through this crisis should not be looked as an act of charity.
“(The possibility of) Retrenchment of workers in significant numbers will decrease their spending power, which will curtail aggregate demand, and impact negatively on the economy.
“In other words, the workers play a key role here,” he outlined.
In the meantime, he said MTUC supported the government’s decision to extend the MCO by another two weeks until April 28.
Solomon said MTUC also welcomed the government’s decision to allow certain businesses to operate under strict conditions during the extended MCO.
“The opening of certain sectors is a bold move by the government and must be seen as a test case in gradually ‘opening’ up the economy, provided employers, workers and the public play their role in adhering to the health regulations put in place.—DayakDaily