GPS should stop playing politics at the expense of the employees’ rights in Sarawak.

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Media Statement By Chong Chieng Jen:

The Sarawak GPS should stop playing politics at the expense of the employees’ rights in Sarawak.

The latest amendment to the Employment Act has come into effect since 1.1.2023. Employees in Semenanjung Malaysia were accorded better rights under the amendment. The threshold salary was increased to RM4,000, i.e. all employees receiving a salary of lower than RM4,000 per month will be protected under the Act.

Due to Sarawak GPS’s irresponsible act in politicising the matter, the proposed amendment to Sarawak Labour Ordinance to accord the same rights to Sarawak employees were postponed to this day and there is still no sign of resolution of the matter.

The reason given by Gerawat Gala, Deputy Minister in Premier’s Office, was that the Sarawak Government insisted that an additional provision be included, requiring consultation with the State Government for future amendments.

Such insistence by the GPS is a mere political power play between the State and the Federal Government. However, it has caused the inordinate delay in the passing and implementation of the new provisions of the Sarawak Labour Ordinance, as a result of which, we the ordinary Sarawak employees are penalised and have lesser rights than our counterparts in West Malaysia.

The disadvantage that we Sarawak employees suffer as a result of the delay are:

• lower threshold salary of RM2,500 in Sarawak which in turn has an indirect effect

of keeping our general salary lower;

• longer working hours

• no 7-day paternal leave;

• no 98-day maternal leave;

To me, the political game and tussle between the State and Federal Governments can be carried out at a later date. The GPS Government can always request for further amendments be made.

The urgent and utmost important agenda should be getting the latest amendment giving employees in Sarawak better rights and protections, and that should be the priority.

The GPS should get its priority right. The people’s rights and interest should take precedence over GPS’ political games.

We, Sarawak employees, have been at a disadvantaged position for more than a year, since 1.1.2023. The longer the Sarawak Government continues its political games, the longer we Sarawak employees will have to be subject to such disadvantage.

I therefore, call upon the Sarawak Government to act immediately and get the latest amendment to the Sarawak Labour Ordinance tabled, passed and implemented. Stop your political game, give to Sarawak Employees what they rightfully deserved!