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MCA President – Minister of Human Resources

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June 15, 2012 – On Monday 14th June 2012 MCA President made a shocking announcement that the National Economic Council meeting has agreed to shelve the unemployment insurance scheme for Malaysian workers. The councils main members are PM Najib, Human Resources Minister Datuk Subramaniam, International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa Mohamad and Dr Chua Soi Lek.

Dr. Chua is reported to have said “to defer all plans on the unemployment insurance scheme before the implementation of the minimum wage”.

Related to this matter is the minimum wage order which would be gazetted on July 1st with peninsular private employees to be paid a minimum of RM900 and Sabah and Sarawak employees will earn nothing less then RM800 a month.

The proposed unemployment scheme will act as a safety net to over 10 million employees in the private sector. The MTUC first suggested in 1998 of this safety net for employees. They even suggested an employer and employee contribute Rm1 each a month, which suggestion was never taken seriously and never even went for discussion by the then PM Mahathir.

Now this scheme has come back for serious discussion with the establishment of a retrenchment insurance scheme at a workshop involving ILO, MTUC and MEF which took place on June 5th.

Chua’s anti labour interest argument is that the insurance scheme will impose a increased financial burden on business. A very business man stand by Dr. Chua. Thus overlooking the needs of poor workers who are not properly organized and do not possess the bargaining power for a safety net on their livelihood. It’s the Government responsibility to intervene and safe guard workers who now number around 10 million in Malaysia.

Of these 10 million workers 34% of workers earn below the official poverty line of RM720 and 70% earn less then RM1,5000 a month. These workers need protection and being the vulnerable group the need of this scheme is of paramount importance and relevance.

To day during question time I posed a supplementary question to the Deputy Minister of Human Resources that is, it true that the Unemployment insurance scheme has been shelved as mentioned by the MCA President as reported in the press. She replied that the unemployment scheme proposal is very much alive and it is now at the discussion stage. She reiterated that the scheme has not been shelved. To this I retorted that Dr. Chua is lying to appease the business community.

Now who is the Minister of Human Resources? Is it Dr Chua or Dr Subramaniam? Or as regards certain workers issues Dr Chua has a say a can make announcement on this policy matters?

Although Dr Chua is not a Cabinet member yet he makes bold announcement on policy matters as though he is the relevant minister.

Dr Subra should wake up and take his duties seriously. I would suggest that Dr Subra takes this opportunity to clear the air as what is going on as regards the unemployment insurance scheme. We should not over look that this scheme for the workers has been suggested over 15 years ago and nothing much has taken place concretely.

Dr Subra should take this opportunity to make a Ministerial statement in Parliament as this is permitted by the standing orders of the Dewan Rakyat. If Dr Subra exercises this option which he should do, it will enhance his image and his ability to handle his ministry affairs. He cannot and should not bow to the MCA President who is not even a Cabinet Minister.-*M Kula Segaran, DAP National Vice Chairman & MP for Ipoh Barat