‘We were cheated by MTUC of­fi­cial’

> Ser­vice not ren­dered af­ter RM78,000 pay­ment


PETALING JAYA: Dis­grun­tled for­mer work­ers of a steel man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany have lodged a po­lice re­port against a trade union rep­re­sen­ta­tive and two oth­ers for al­legedly fleec­ing them of RM75,650, for the ser­vice the lat­ter had ren­dered.

The re­port lodged at the dis­trict po­lice sta­tion here on Sept 19 claimed that some 779 ex-em­ploy­ees of the now closed Ke­ma­man fac­tory of Per­waja Steel Sdn Bhd had paid three Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) rep­re­sen­ta­tives RM78,000 to rep­re­sent them in a hear­ing at the Ke­ma­man In­dus­trial Court.

Mo­hamad Azhar Bidin, who lodged the re­port on be­half of the work­ers, told theSun that af­ter en­list­ing MTUC to rep­re­sent them at the hear­ing, a union of­fi­cial was sent to them.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice re­port, in April, the work­ers were told by the of­fi­cial and two oth­ers to pay RM150 each for the pa­per work on the case.

It said the fol­low­ing month, a cheque for RM78,000 was is­sued to the of­fi­cial’s per­sonal ac­count and was handed to the trio at a law firm here.

It was also agreed that a re­main­ing amount of RM39,000 was to be set­tled once the case con­cluded.

It added that sens­ing some­thing amiss, the work­ers com­pelled the of­fi­cial to is­sue a pay­ment in­voice but were is­sued a re­ceipt, which was not MTUC’s of­fi­cial re­ceipt, and only bore a stamp of the de­funct Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan di­vi­sion.

This then prompted the group to lodge the re­port.

“We agreed to pay him be­cause we did not know MTUC’s pro­ce­dures and he was sent to us af­ter we en­listed MTUC’s help,” said Mo­hamad Azhar.

Of the RM78,000, only RM2,350 was de­posited with MTUC to open a case file and the trade union is­sued an of­fi­cial re­ceipt.

The of­fi­cial when con­tacted said he has com­mit­ted no wrong as he ad­hered to MTUC’s pro­ce­dures.

“This is a com­mon prac­tice among MTUC’s prac­ti­tion­ers and we are al­lowed to col­lect a fee for fil­ing case state­ments and man­ag­ing the case and in Per­waja’s case, luck was on my side as the work­ers’ num­ber was huge,” he said.

He claimed it was com­mon for pay­ments to be de­posited into the rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ per­sonal ac­counts in­stead of MTUC’s of­fi­cial ac­count, and the state branches do not is­sue of­fi­cial re­ceipts.

How­ever, MTUC sec­re­tary-gen­eral N. Gopal Kish­nam, dis­puted claims that such were the prac­tices of MTUC, say­ing that in­ci­den­tal charges and case ref­er­ence cost are be­low RM200.

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