‘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.