MTUC S’wak welcomes amendment to Industrial Relations Act

Andrew Lo

KUCHING, Dec 29: Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak welcomes the announcement by the Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan that the relevant amended parts of the Industrial Relations Act will be implemented with effect from Jan 1, 2021, said MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo.

Lo believed that the amendments will lead to a more proactive industrial relationship, improve worker’s rights, encourage more professional human resources management by employers that will in turn increase labour productivity and make businesses more competitive both locally and internationally.

“Although MTUC Sarawak is disappointed that not all MTUC’s proposals are reflected in the amendments, it is, nevertheless, optimistic that the amendments will be far more positive for workers and the labour movement, the economy, and country,” Lo said in a statement issued here today.

Lo asserted that businesses could only thrived by empowering workers and not exploiting them.

“(Thus), we urge the Ministry to forge ahead with the complimentary amendments to the Trade Unions Act and Employment Act/ Sarawak Labour Ordinance to bring our Labour Standards to International standards.


“This is crucial in an era of global trade as exemplified by the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) trade agreements.

“As we move into the digital economy, antiquated regressive policies must be thrown out and we must adopt international best practices,” said Lo.

Yesterday, Saravanan had said the Industrial Relations Act 1967 (Act 177) which was amended in December last year will come into force on Jan 1, 2021 to improve the protection of workers’ rights in the country.

Among the key areas of amendments included the repeal of the human resources minister’s power to refer representations on dismissal cases to the Industrial Court which will instead be given to the Director-General for Industrial Relations, as well as the repeal of discretionary power to refer cases to the Industrial Court without further filtering.

Other amendments were the employer or employee may be represented by any person of their choice, except lawyers, during the conciliation process at the Department of Industrial Relations and the application of the provision of representation on reinstatement (Section 20) may be extended to employees of statutory bodies by order of the Human Resources minister, after consultations with the statutory body. — DayakDaily