By­pass­ing of the Min­is­ter pro­posal lauded

This will speed up the le­gal process in labour cases, say ex­perts

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By ROYCE TAN royc­

PE­TAL­ING JAYA: The Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter’s pro­posal that cases of worker dis­missals be re­ferred straight to the In­dus­trial Court with­out his in­ter­ven­tion au­gurs well for the work­force, ex­perts said.

Labour law prac­ti­tion­erDatuk Thavalinga­m Thavara­jah said the pro­posed amend­ment is a step in the right di­rec­tion as it will re­move an ad­min­is­tra­tive el­e­ment from the process un­der­taken by the In­dus­trial Court.

He said the time frame an for an un­fair dis­missal case could take up to three years, de­spite the 24-month limit on back­wages.

“There were also in­stances where the min­is­ter chose not to re­fer a case to the In­dus­trial Court, lead­ing to an em­ployee chal­leng­ing the same at the High Court.

“There were cases where dis­putes were only re­mit­ted back to the In­dus­trial Court five to six years after an em­ployee was dis­missed,” he said, lead­ing to wit­nesses be­com­ing un­trace­able, facts forgotten or doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence be­com­ing dif­fi­cult to lo­cate.

Thavalinga­m, a for­mer Malaysian Em­ploy­ers Fed­er­a­tion (MEF) sec­re­tary, said it de­feated the whole pur­pose of the In­dus­trial Court to give a speedy res­o­lu­tion to dis­putes with­out be­ing bound by tech­ni­cal­i­ties.

“A lot of time is also spent at the con­cil­i­a­tion process be­fore the mat­ter is brought to the min­is­ter’s at­ten­tion.

“There were times when em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees were left dis­il­lu­sioned,” he said.

Last week, Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter M. Ku­lasegaran pledged to pro­pose the can­cel­la­tion of the min­is­ter’s pow­ers to the Cabi­net be­fore tabling it in Par­lia­ment.

The sug­ges­tion was to re­move the power of the min­is­ter in terms of ref­er­ence and screening be­fore a case could be re­ferred to the In­dus­trial Court.

Malaysian Bar In­dus­trial and Em­ploy­ment Law Com­mit­tee co-chair­man Anand Pon­nudu­rai wel­comed the move.

“You have full ac­cess to the courts when some­body knocks you down or de­fames you.

“So why is it when your liveli­hood is af­fected by a terminatio­n is it then to be af­fected by the de­ci­sion of the min­is­ter?” he asked.

An­other in­dus­trial law prac­ti­tioner, Muhen­daran Sup­piah, said the pro­posal would pro­vide a speedy res­o­lu­tion to cases.

He said a case would be struck out if the ag­grieved worker died.

“So if there is a de­lay and some­thing un­for­tu­nate hap­pens, the fam­ily can­not step in.

“With the min­is­ter giv­ing up this power, mat­ters are re­ferred to im­me­di­ately,” he said in com­mend­ing Ku­lasegaran.

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