Pakistani Worker’s Death Due to Non Payment of Wages. Murder or Suicide?

A young man ended his life. He didn’t die because of natural causes; he didn’t die in an accident, and he wasn’t killed by Covid-19. He died because he was not paid his wages. He made this very clear in his video in which he showed very clearly who his employer was. The video showed the contrast and class contradiction of the two worlds, the worker’s and his bosses’. We are told that the employer has now paid up the backdated wages and sent the body back with some so-called ‘goodwill money’ no doubt to keep them silent and maintain the peace. Should the story end here?

Can we keep silent? Non-payment of wages is a violation of the right to livelihood – under Article 5 of the Federal Constitution. In this case, a life has been lost due to criminal violation. Serious action must be taken by the authorities.

Pakistani worker Shahzad Ahmad hanged himself because his employer Landseal Sdn Bhd hadn’t paid his wages for five months. Earlier, the worker had released a surreal video of himself making known his decision to end his life as a way out of his desperate financial situation.

There are many questions that demand answers from the government.

Migrant workers are here to earn a living to support their families back home and pay up debts incurred, much of it due to greedy middlemen along their journey here. With low income, there are no savings to fall back on even for a month. Imagine the stress on a worker who has to go without pay for five months at a stretch. No amount of counseling persuading him to live on nothing could have helped this worker: only his wages would have saved him.

How is it possible for an employer who is not a slave master to get away without paying his worker for so many months? Non-payment of wages is a rampant occurrence even when the government is the paymaster, as in the case of school contract workers. But despite it being frequently highlighted, it hasn’t got the serious attention it needs. At most employers get away with a slap on the wrist, resulting in them getting away and then repeating the offence. Now that a life has been lost due to poor enforcement by human resources agencies, will the Ministry of Human Resources take it more seriously?

A common reaction to this incident will be why the worker had to resort to such an extreme measure instead of filing a complaint at the labour office. Do workers have the right to take their complaints to the labour office? Sadly, this right exists only on paper; in reality those who complain face victimization and dismissal. This young Pakistani worker is a victim of this unprotected avenue to justice. The government in its bid to maintain its pro-business stand cannot allow workers to be trampled on in a situation where enforcement is lax, and workers cannot air their grievances.

This tragic incident marks a new low in the way our migrant workers are managed in Malaysia. This will not get better unless the government adopts the recommendations proposed in reports such as that of the Independent Committee on the Management of Foreign Workers, and the MWR2R report, Towards a Comprehensive National Policy on Labour Migration in Malaysia. It is not acceptable that the government continues to leave this sector unregulated and up to the whims and discretion of employers. Despite the strident demands for migrant workers to prevent their businesses from collapsing, due respect for the rights of the migrant workforce, is sorely lacking among employers.

The PSM demands that the government takes serious and immediate action to stop the non-payment of wages, without giving the excuse of a shortage of labour inspectors. The PSM also demands that investigation papers be opened on the employer for contributing to and abetting the suicide by the Pakistani worker.

Mohanarani Rasiah
Coordinator Migrant Desk PSM
27/4/2021

 

Nenggiri Dam: Electricity Tariff Will Go Up, Not Down

Nenggiri Dam: Electricity Tariff Will Go Up, Not Down

The statement by Mohd Amar Abdullah, the Deputy Chief Minister of Kelantan that Nenggiri Dam will bring down electricity tariffs is misleading the people because the electricity tariff will increase.

According to project consultant, UKM Pakarunding Sdn Bhd, Nenggiri Dam will only operate for less than 4 hours per day. Hence, the total operations period is about 2 months per year.

Why is the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government building a dam that will be utilised for only 2 months per year?

According to Suruhanjaya Tenaga’s report, the total over-capacity of power plants (known as the electricity reserve margin rate) will reach 43% in 2027 when Nenggiri Dam starts operations. The recommended optimum electricity reserve margin rate for Peninsular Malaysia is 15%; meanwhile, the federal government approved an electricity reserve margin rate for the period 2025-2029 of 25%.

Why is the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government going against its own electricity policy?

High electricity reserve margin rate will only increase the overall electricity tariff as the power plants’ shareholders receive a fixed payment for the unused power plants.

Why is the PAS leader misleading the people with a statement that electricity tariffs will come down?

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) urges the government to scrap the construction of Nenggiri Dam which will only enrich the crony capitalists by burdening the people and destroying the Orang Asli community’s livelihood.

Issued by:
SHARAN RAJ
National Coordinator,
Bureau for Environment & Climate Crisis
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)

Pemuda PSM Profile: Kesavan

Pemuda PSM Profile: Kesavan

(originally posted at ThinkLeft.Net)

What is your name, age and profession?

Kesavan, 27. I am an activist at Pemuda Sosialis (organising a rural student group at Perak) and still studying at UPM.

What drew you to PSM? When did you join the party?

At first I was interested in the Socialist Youth free education campaign. The mission and ideology of PSM that tries to create a system that does not discriminate and which upholds equality is the second thing that attracted me. Then my seeking for a solution for poverty eradication led me to choose an activist party, which PSM is. After I finished my STPM, I joined PSM.

Why do you think socialism has such a negative reputation among so many people around the world? What do you say to those who discourage you?

Fake propaganda and news are the major reason. Because mainstream media is hugely funded and operated by America and by capitalist countries. But the majority of society wants equality and brotherhood in society, which is the basis of socialism. Moreover in countries like Bolivia and Venezuela, people are electing socialist governments again to be their government because of the good people-oriented policy and programmes that were successfully implemented there. Cuba, the socialist country is the no1 country in public health and education sectors.

How familiar are you with Malaysia’s left wing history? Are there particular leaders you admire?

I know about the contribution of the left movements such as PMFTU, KMM, MPAJA, PKM, API and AWAS in the struggle for independence of Malaya. My inspiration is Ahmad Boestamam and Samsiah Fakeh.

Is there any frustration you feel over PSM’s size and impact? Since Dr Jeyakumar and other candidates were soundly defeated in GE14, has the party been reduced to mosquito status?

There are some disappointments with election results. But the party won many struggles and successfully conducted many campaigns. For example the minimum wage campaign and employee insurance scheme were two of PSM’s major campaigns since the 90s. However the party has a lack of publicity because of low media coverage and financial issues. This is one of the reasons the party is not growing as fast as other parties. Also all the activists in the party are busy focusing on peoples’ struggles rather than recruiting new members.

Do you see any differences between BN and PH rule?

Not much difference. Both are advocating neoliberal policies that suppress workers ’rights and livelihood.

What can be done to broaden PSM’s appeal, particularly among young people and non-Indians?

Our youth wing (Socialist Youth) is getting more and more non-Indian members now. We are very different in terms of ethnicity now. So we think we should continue our good work. At the same time we must continue to reach more youths. The party should also conduct more discussions, workshops and forums with rural youths. In addition, we should promote the PSM internship program to students from time to time.

To join Parti Sosialis Malaysia, please access the application form by clicking on this link!

 

More articles from this series:

Pemuda PSM Profile: Arveent Kathirtchelvan

Pemuda PSM Profile: Mahira Khairia

Pemuda PSM Profile: Gandipan

Pemuda PSM Profile: Danial Hakeem

Pemuda PSM Profile: Ahmad Yasin

Pemuda PSM Profile: Yap Xin Yit

Pemuda PSM Profile: Vennusha Priyaa

Strong in solidarity, never in discrimination

Strong in solidarity, never in discrimination

(From ThinkLeft.Net)

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) welcomes the Federal Court’s decision to rule that Section 28 of the Selangor State Syariah Enactment on the offence of unnatural intercourse is contrary to the Federal Constitution. Section 28 was needlessly used as an oppressive tool by the state to criminalize the sexual orientation of the LGBT community in Malaysia.

PSM is encouraged by the Malaysian LGBT community and their struggle to attain their rights not to be discriminated just because of differences in sexuality and gender. The struggle of the LGBT community in Malaysia is a struggle that also ensures equal rights, justice, and freedom to all Malaysians, to everyone who lives in a country we call ‘merdeka’ or free.

The Federal Court decision has reminded all Malaysians, regardless of our background, to stop criminalization and end discrimination against the LGBT community. PSM would like to remind everyone that Malaysia is a constitutional country and a country made up of various people of different cultures, religions, sexuality and gender.

Any action or law should not discriminate or oppress anyone. Regardless of whether Syariah or Civil, the law must protect the rights to express their sexual orientation. The journey of the LGBT community in Malaysia for equal rights and acceptance is long, but PSM’s support for them is still strong, and we will stand with them in solidarity all the way.

Gender Bureau
Parti Sosialis Malaysia

Wait No More, Act Now!

Wait No More, Act Now!

(Statement in conjunction with International Women’s Day 2021)
by Chong Yee Shan

It’s been one year since Perikatan Nasional (PN) formed a government. Under their governance, we see many incompetent ministries failing to provide adequate policies and enforcement on many issues, especially gender. In conjunction with International Women’s Day, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) would like to suggest, Wait No More, Act Now! We have listed the following recommendations:

Enact Sexual Harassment Act

Given the rise in the community on the awareness of acknowledging the signs of sexual harassment either verbally, visually, physically or communicated in writing or electronically,  the current laws and policies that sets out to protect women and sexual minorities are not enough. Existing sexual harassment provision, such as in the Employment Act, is disappointingly enforced and fails to create a safer work environment for women and other minority groups. Therefore, it is crucial to have more gender-sensitive training for all authorities, stakeholders, and medical practitioners to ensure potent enforcement focus on the patriarchal system and its impact on both men and women. The awareness of the maintenance of power and privilege by the dominant group need to be highlighted so that there will be a collaboration of forces to dismantle the dysfunctional system of gender inequality. The Sexual Harassment Act is necessary to protect all genders and sexual minorities and hold the responsible parties accountable.

End Child Marriage

Research shows that child marriage is intimately connected to poverty and is most common in the world’s poorest countries. Although Malaysia is a developing country, child marriages’ presence reflects the lack of attention paid to the impact of low socio-economic status on social issues. Lack of sex education, awareness of children giving consent and perceived messages of one’s cultural system are some examples that perpetuate the issue of child marriages and firmly embedded in the disparity of socio-economic level. When financial resources are limited in a family, child marriages are seen as a way for daughters to be taken care of by another family. Evidence shows that girls who marry off young are more likely to be poor and remain low, especially when traditional gender roles expected to be maintained. Malaysia has ratified the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which meant to protect children and girls from child marriages; the government should develop policies in Malaysia to meet the guidelines of CEDAW and CRC.

Universal Basic Income (UBI)

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected many B40 women, especially single mothers, who are the sole providers in the family. The government’s lack of support is evident through the stories of many who are suffering from the loss of income. The PN government have been spending money on efforts to boost the economy. However, there is a lack of attention to significantly impacted economically. This issue can be addressed by government response to provide a modified Universal Basic Income (UBI) to anyone who does not currently have a source of income. This to ensure that everyone in this country is fed and all basic needs are met. Women and girls must be included in any decision-making process as well in all future economic policies. In the longer term, the government must ensure to drive a transformative change in addressing the care work, paid and unpaid. Furthermore, the government must target women and girls to address the socio-economic impact with a gender lens so that women can achieve greater equality and social protection. 

Human Rights of LGBTQI Persons

Discrimination, violation, and witch-hunts toward LGBTQI persons have become more severe in Malaysia. The government’s anti-LGBTQI position shows in politicians scapegoating LGBTQI persons, government appearing lax with conservative groups, anti-LGBT speech and acts, directly causing an increase in violation and hate speech towards LGBTQI persons. Past one year, the witch-hunting of the LGBTQI community from various actors and authorities have increased. The LGBTQI community are living in fear, and they are left in a very vulnerable situation. The government should lead by example, stop all form of hate speech and targeting LGBTQI persons, and necessary steps to protect anyone that threatens to harm LGBTQI person immediately.

For too long, women have been ignored, and those in power, mostly that controlled by men, refused to use a gender lens to see the issues. We hope women’s struggle for equality has triggered people’s realisation to build a movement towards greater gender equality and end gender stereotypes, sexism, and the patriarchal system. We must fight for the traditional gender roles to be erased from the state’s eye to society. This is not the 18th century for men to enjoy their patriarchal “privileges” anymore and time to share the same and shared parental and domestic responsibilities.

========

Chong Yee Shan is a member of the Central Committee of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) and PSM’s Gender Bureau coordinator.

PSM convoy in conjunction with International Women’s Day

Wait No More, Act Now!
Joint Statement: Stand with the 1086 #Demi1086

Joint Statement: Stand with the 1086 #Demi1086

 

1,086 shoes and slippers. Many raggedy, scuffed and torn.

Representing the 1,086 Myanmar persons wrested away
from the lives they’d made for themselves in Malaysia.

Challenger Malaysia, MISI: Solidariti, Pemuda Sosialis with support from various other NGOs stand in solidarity with the 1,086 Myanmar nationals that were deported back to Myanmar on the 23rd February 2021, and unequivocally condemn the actions of the Malaysian Immigration Department for doing so. The deportation took place despite a stay of execution of the deportation of the Myanmar nationals issued by the Kuala Lumpur High Court on the morning of the 23rd. Not only that, but the act itself violates the international legal principle of “non-refoulement”.

On this day, 5th March 2021 at Taman Jaya Park, several representatives from the organisations listed above laid out these 1,086 pairs of shoes to demonstrate just how many people — men, women, and even children amongst them as reported by Amnesty International Malaysia — the Malaysian government has potentially condemned, many of whom left Myanmar in search for a better life for themselves and their families.

All these lives cannot simply be reduced to a number, distant and disconnected from reality, so we must take a look at the space each of them would have occupied had they stood here in the flesh as living and breathing individuals. However, even this does not do justice to capturing and representing the humanity of these individuals; these shoes cannot illustrate who they are as people: their hopes, dreams and aspirations that all of us as individuals possess.

We also cannot forget that according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported that there were asylum seekers in that group, fleeing violence and persecution from a government that seeks to ethnically cleanse Myanmar — a fact that the Immigration Department explicitly denied about when they said asylum seekers were not included in the 1,086 people deported. In spite of this, Malaysian authorities deported them anyway in what can only be described as an act of unbridled xenophobia.In the spirit of realizing human rights and dignity, we the organisations have a list of four demands:

  • No cooperation with the Tamatdaw government
    • Myanmar’s current Tamatdaw government was installed undemocratically through use of brute force against the wishes of the Myanmar people, and maintains its power through authoritarian means that are often violent and lethal. Malaysia should not be seen to legitimise this government — be it through bilateral agreements or cooperation in any form — due to an implication of tacit approval of their governance.
  • Unequivocal access to immigration detention centres granted to the United Nations
    High Commission of Refugees (UNHCR)

    • The government must allow UNHCR to access immigration detention centres, in order to ascertain those amongst the detained that are specifically vulnerable due to their status as a persecuted minority and grant them the protections that should be rightfully afforded to them under international human rights instruments.
  • Moratorium on deportations, end indefinite and arbitrary detention of all migrants
    • Migrants must no longer be subject to raids, arrests, and detention purely by reason of their immigration status. These practices are inhumane, greatly infringe on the rights of migrants, rob them of their dignity as individuals,
      and subject them to terrible living conditions and even physical and/or verbal abuse, instances of which are well-documented by many human rights organisations in Malaysia.
    • Further to the above, we urge that the Malaysian courts initiate a judicial review against the government, Immigration Director-General Dzaimee Daud and the Home Affairs Ministry for their role in deportation in the coming hearing on 9 March 2021.
  • Full transparency from the Immigration Department of Malaysia
    • The Immigration Department must make data regarding detentions public and accessible — including but not limited to the number of detainees, disaggregated by gender, age group, and nationality; refugee status; exact location where detainees are being held; duration of time detainees have been held; reasons for extension of detention etc.
    • We also demand an explanation from the Immigration Department regarding the grounds in which the deportation was carried out on 23 February despite the court order; why the remaining 114 Myanmar nationals were not deported, as well as their current status.

To reiterate, we the co-signed strongly condemn the deportation of the Myanmar nationals, and affirm that this crime against humanity — no less than that — cannot go unanswered. We may not be able to bring the 1,086 back, but we have to work to ensure that what happened never happens again.

#MigranJugaManusia

Co-signed by:
Challenger Malaysia
MISI: Solidariti
Pemuda Sosialis
Demokrat Kebangsaan
Suaram
North South Initiative
Parti Sosialis Malaysia
Refuge for the Refugees
Beyond Borders
Tenaganita
Liberasi
Al-Hasan Volunteer Network

Despicable to even think of GST !

Despicable to even think of GST !

PSM is very concerned that the PN government has plans to resurrect the dead Goods and Services Tax regime to increase government revenue. The Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah, over the past week has repeatedly floated the idea of resurrecting GST. He claims that the GST brought in RM 40 billion a year compared to the SST that only manages to collect RM 21 billion a year.
It’s despicable that the Deputy Minister is even considering the GST in times when the rakyat has lost jobs and income. The GST has proven to be a very regressive tax hitting hard on the working people. It increases their daily consumption cost. When GST was introduced in 1st April, 2015, it clearly led a significant increase on consumer goods prices. Has the PN forgotten that GST was one of the issues that caused the downfall of the Najib government in 2018?
The government’s immediate response to fall back on a consumer tax regime reveals their pro rich mentality that prevents them from even thinking of grazing the wealthy!
Wealth Tax – Has PN the guts to introduce it
Many renowned economists concurred with the idea that the wealthy should contribute more to revive the country out of the Covid19 induced economic crisis. Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, head of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network said that “We will need to tax high-net worth, especially after the current disaster,”
Instead PSM puts a challenge to the PN government to implement the much needed wealth tax. PSM is proposing a progressive wealth tax to cope the shortcoming to government revenue.
Wealth tax is a tax levied on the value of held assets where tax will be applicable to a variety of asset types including cash, bank deposits, shares, fixed assets, personal cars, assessed value of real property, pension plans, money funds, owner-occupied housing, and trusts. We propose this tax only on those that have a declared wealth of RM1 billion and above. It would be a progressive tax starting from 2% up top 10%.
It is calculated proportionately according to the tax bracket that they fall. For example a billionaire with an estimated net wealth worth of RM 4.34 billion, will pay only 2% for the first 2 billion and 4 % for the balance 2.34billion.
Thus if the government taxes the 50 wealthiest Malaysians progressively it will generate approximately RM 20 billion per year from the billionaires. Rest assured that, that no billionaire will be pushed to poverty if the tax system is introduced. With the global economic downturn due to the pandemic, the wealthy have limited avenues to invest in productive capital. Thus it payback time, as they and their business empires have enjoyed various governments business friendly incentives and tax holidays all these years.
We strongly condemn the PN government’s short sighted plan to reintroduce the GST and challenge them to make a bold move and introduce a much needed wealth tax on the Malaysian billionaires!
Sivarajan Arumugam
Secretary General PSM
18th December, 2020.
Top Glove Shows the Folly of Private Capitalists!

Top Glove Shows the Folly of Private Capitalists!

Local manufacturers of latex gloves Top Glove have shown themselves to be anti-worker. Over the past few weeks Top Glove has given us the largest Covid-19 cluster in Malaysia with more than 5,000 infections of Covid-19 amongst their workers, proven to provide appalling workers’ accommodation which led to The Labour Department opening 19 investigation papers in five states against them and even fired a worker who took a picture of the lack of social distancing within the company. The Teratai cluster has now resulted in the death of a security guard as well.
All of the above show the revolting true face of the company. Whilst basking in an era of increased profits of up to 400%, Top Glove has prioritised making money over taking care of its workers. If unofficial sources are to be believed, the working conditions in the company is similarly brutal, showing its success to be mainly for the fattening of capitalist pockets.
Top Glove is not the only company like this. Many firms that project a squeaky-clean image hide disturbing skeletons in their closets. Large multinational companies rely on underpaying and overworking their labour force to drive up profits. Even those that claim not to often utilise contract workers or subcontract out to vendor companies that do to lessen their costs. The exploitation of workers is the lifeblood by which our economy functions. The fact that we are integrated within the global supply chain has led to cheap labour being our selling point to attract investors. As such, the Malaysian labour force is condemned to be sold lock, stock and barrel to greedy companies looking for a profit.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia has seen time and again how our workers are treated inhumanely. We have stood with them at the forefront to organise them into functioning unions and have fought thousands of labour cases to force irresponsible employers to give the proper compensation to their employees. On the subject of migrant labour, we have seen how the companies that bring them in and state actors have collaborated to extract every last cent from migrant workers, from forcing them to live in cramped, unhygienic rooms to withholding their salaries for multiple months. Yet time goes by with practically no improvement.
How long are we to sell workers like cattle to capitalists? How long are we going to step upon the necks of migrant workers just to reap the benefits of their underpaid labour? Pemuda Sosialis is sickened, yet what is the use of appealing to an uncaring state which does nothing to remedy the situation? This is not even a dig on Perikatan Nasional, even Pakatan Harapan in 2018 gave the green light to Top Glove with then Minister of Human Resources, M. Kulasegaran, stating there was no evidence of worker exploitation in Top Glove.
Are we then to believe the appalling workers’ accommodations suddenly appeared between then and now? Or are we to believe that the same company, which has had many complaints on forced labour, has been treating their workers well?
Yet this is the reality of an economy wholly reliant on capital accumulation and the maximisation of profit. The billions of Ringgit generated do well to shield top executives from the cries of anguish of their workers. The very same billions then conveniently turn the authorities away from these atrocities to rubber stamp them instead.
Assuming a compliant government, the following steps must be taken against Top Glove:
1. Deadlines and Probationary Period
Top Glove must be given a deadline not more than 3 months to adequately improve their workers’ accommodations and be shown to ensure the compliance of all employees with Covid-19 SOPs. If they cannot meet this target, Top Glove’s operating license and land licenses for their facilities must be suspended until they can meet it.
Additionally, Top Glove must be put on a probationary period during which time random audits must be done to ensure the changes they have implemented are truly sustainable. An anonymous channel for their workers to give feedback during this period must be set up to identify internal pressure from management covering up labour abuses.
2. Push for Worker’ Involvement in Management
It is time that we understand without workers’ involvement in managing company decisions, their exploitation is imminent. For that, the workers themselves must be the owners of the means of production, otherwise known as the resources producing goods. When it comes to Top Glove, we must understand that to do away with top executives fattening their pockets with the exploitation of workers, they must not be the sole decision makers. Top Glove must be taken over and changed into a workers’ collective, for we have seen their management model failing to protect their workers properly.
Is this too far-fetched for us to imagine? We need not look too far for working examples. In Argentina exist worker-owned businesses of many types, from hotels to factories, that resulted from the occupy movement beginning in the late 90s which saw workers from retrenched businesses simply taking over the possession of properties and machinery to continue producing. They divided labour needs amongst themselves, organised production schedules and negotiated deals with customers all by themselves, proving there is no need for overbearing top executives for any essential activity other than to be leeching off their hard-earned profits. These workers collectively own the businesses, decide its direction together and easily work out salaries amongst themselves.
3. Invest in a Federal Jobs Guarantee Scheme
The state must understand how truly damaging Top Glove has been. They have worsened a public health crisis, indulged in human rights abuses and basked in profiteering off the pandemic, making millions they did not use to better Malaysian lives. This cannot continue, even a windfall tax is not enough.
That we have exposed our labour force to such manipulative parties warrant a deep introspection on how our economy functions. For us to ensure solid economic growth whilst minimising exploitation, there must an adequate Federal Jobs Guarantee scheme with set benefits and compensation for our workers. This way the usual threat used by private companies to keep workers silent against abuses, that of firing them, will no longer exist as the state guarantees work for those who are willing and able. Hence, there would be lesser prevalence of private abuses of workers.
With this in mind, we should not be so overburdened with the status quo to not realise the efficacy of the new. We should no longer keep up the pretence of private ownership, especially of large businesses, just to allow our workers to be treated like trash. It is time we do away with labour exploitation and, perhaps, Top Glove should be the first domino to fall.
Arveent Kathirtchelvan is the Head of the Science and Technology Bureau of Pemuda Sosialis, Parti Sosialis Malaysia
Wira, Wirawati dan Frontliner Yang Dilupa Dalam Belanjawan 2021

Wira, Wirawati dan Frontliner Yang Dilupa Dalam Belanjawan 2021

“Kami tidur dengan selamat kerana lelaki dan wanita yang bersedia pada waktu malam yang berjaga bertugas pada waktu malam untuk berdepan dengan keganasan yang akan mengancam kita.” – George Orwell

17 November 2020: Jaringan Pekerja Kontrak Kerajaan (JPKK) dan Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Swasta Perkhidmatan Sokongan Di Hospital-Hospital Kerajaan Semenanjung Malaysia tidak bersetuju dengan Belanjawan 2021 yang dibentangkan di Parlimen oleh Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia pada 6 November 2020 kerana Belanjawan 2021 telah mengabaikan frontliner atau barisan depan yang memerangi wabak COVID-19. Kami mendesak Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia untuk menggolongkan semua kakitangan yang berada di barisan depan pertempuran melawan pandemik COVID-19 agar segera dalam Belanjawan 2021, tanpa mengira kelas, pekerjaan, nilai, atau asal usul mereka.

Pekerja pembersih di hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun yang mempertaruhkan nyawa mereka setiap hari di barisan depan untuk melawan wabak COVID-19 diabaikan dalam Belanjawan 2021 kerana sistem kontrak pekerjaan mereka. Mereka tidak dianggap sebagai frontliner oleh Kerajaan Malaysia kerana mereka diupah oleh pihak ketiga untuk bantuan sokongan di premis Kerajaan. Oleh demikian, mereka tidak layak dilindungi dengan Elaun Khas COVID-19 sebanyak RM600 sebulan (sehingga wabak tersebut berjaya diatasi) dan pembayaran sekali RM500 sebagai penghargaan atas sumbangan oleh barisan hadapan Kementerian Kesihatan (KKM).

Semasa ucapan Belanjawan 2021 di Parlimen, Menteri Kewangan Malaysia, YB Senator Tengku Dato’ Sri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz berkata, “Kerajaan menghargai usaha dan pengorbanan barisan hadapan dalam memerangi wabak COVID-19 ini.” Walau bagaimanapun, pengecualian barisan depan, wira dan wirawati seperti pekerja pembersih di hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun yang dilupakan dari Belanjawan 2021 bertentangan dengan ucapann beliau dan juga nilai teras pertama Belanjawan 2021 Kerajaan Persekutuan iaitu untuk Melindungi Kesejahteraan Rakyat.

Selain itu, para wira dan wirawati kita yang dilupai terdedah kepada risiko penularan COVID-19 setiap hari kerana kekurangan Peralatan Pelindung Diri (PPE) seperti topeng muka, pelindung muka, sarung tangan, dan lain-lain ketika mereka bekerja di hospital dan sekolah . Dengan menyediakan PPE kepada pembersih hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun juga membantu mencegah / menghentikan penyebaran COVID-19 kepada anggota keluarga mereka dan orang lain. Ia dapat membantu meratakan lengkung kadar jangkitan (flatten the curve). Kerajaan Malaysia memperuntukkan sejumlah RM318 juta untuk pembelian PPE dalam Belanjawan 2021, namun kesihatan pekerja pembersih hospital, anggota keselamatan sekolah, dan tukang kebun ini tidak berada di bawah kuasa Kerajaan Persekutuan. Sebabnya, mereka bukan sebahagian daripada penjawat awam tetapi pekerja kontrak yang diupah oleh pihak ketiga. PPE mereka berada di bawah tanggungjawab syarikat kontrak mereka. Oleh itu, langkah-langkah pemotongan kos mungkin tidak dapat dihindari untuk perniagaan, sedangkan Kerajaan dapat memusatkan perhatian pada kos sosial untuk rakyatnya tanpa mematuhi sifat untung dan rugi oleh suatu perniagaan.

Menurut laporan kami, masalah penswastaan sistem sokongan untuk premis Kerajaan merangkumi pembayaran gaji lewat, pembuangan kerja secara tidak adil, tiada kenaikan gaji, dan lain-lain. Penswastaan tidak menyelesaikan masalah penjimatan kos untuk perbelanjaan Kerajaan tetapi memindah masalah tersebut kepada kos sosial seperti masalah kesihatan dan pertikaian di tempat kerja yang memerlukan lebih banyak sumber dari Kerajaan. Sudah tentu, pandemik COVID-19 memperburukkan masalah ini apabila wira dan wirawati kita yang dilupakan tidak dilindungi.

JPKK berkomitmen untuk mengembalikan semua pekerja kontrak di premis Kerajaan untuk menjadi sebahagian daripada penjawat awam sebelum Jun 2021. Seperti yang dikatakan oleh Geoge Orwell, “Kami tidur dengan selamat kerana lelaki dan wanita yang bersedia pada waktu malam untuk berdepan dengan keganasan yang akan mengancam kita.” Kami belum terlambat untuk memasukkan “lelaki dan wanita” dan wira-wirawati kita yang dilupa untuk kembali ke dalam bab buku sejarah kami yang akan dibaca oleh anak-anak kita, mengenai wira dan wirawati kita ketika kita mengalahkan wabak COVID-19!

Kami mendesak Kerajaan Persekutuan Malaysia, Perdana Menteri Malaysia, Menteri Kewangan Malaysia, Menteri Pendidikan Malaysia, dan Menteri Sumber Manusia untuk menggolongkan semua kakitangan yang berada di barisan depan pertempuran melawan pandemik COVID-19 agar segera dalam Belanjawan 2021, tanpa mengira kelas, pekerjaan, nilai, atau asal usul mereka.

Sekian

Dikeluarkan oleh,
1.Jaringan Pekerja Kontrak Kerajaan (JPKK) &
2. Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Swasta Perkhidmatan Sokongan Di Hospital-Hospital Kerajaan Semenanjung Malaysia
Hubungi: Wing Hoong (+60 11 5636 8136)