Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s 2021 Workers’ Day address was disappointing, where he said nothing new and rehashed points from 2019 Cabinet discussions.
Matters in which he raised, were already discussed during the PH administration.
For Minimum Wage, before the Sheraton Coup takeover, PH was on the right track to increase the wage significantly. We were speaking to all stakeholders in each state, to ensure we explained to them the wage suggested by the National Wages Council and to gather their feedback.
For the Employment Act, I had principal approval sometime in late 2019 to increase the maternity leave to 90 days, the scope of the act was widen to include all workers (exception of some provision not applying to some of the employees) and enough provision to include gig workers, even a provision on equal employment opportunities was proposed, flexible working hours, working hours reduced from 48 hours to 45 hours, sexual harassment provisions enhanced, provision for foreign workers registration with the labour Department, payment of wages to be done via Bank, Provision for Forced labour and Paternity leave of 3 days, which I later asked the Cabinet to revise to 7 days, after speaking to stakeholders.
We had already given a draft of the law to the AG chambers then and was finalized and returned back to the Ministry in January 2020.
As almost all matters relating to the amendments to the Employment Act were completed and done during PH governing the nation, why the delay in enacting the amendments?
If the PH government had remained, it would have passed the law and it would have gone a long way to enhance, benefit and protect the workers.
In fact if the PN Government is with the workers the proposed amendments can be speeded and enacted under the present emergency powers they have. Why is PN shrinking and shying away from the benevolent act for the workers?
So when we are upon this unprecedented Pandemic, where our unemployment has hit record high numbers while our FDIs have halved, the PM should look at something new to be done and not just rehash what was already decided in 2019 under the PH government.
The Human Resources Minister and the PM must explain this lackadaisical approach to our crisis.