The Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress has been receiving complaints that employers are refusing to implement the absolute 45-hour working week (under amendments to the Employment Act 1955).
Such recalcitrant employers should read and appreciate the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) publication by the Department of Labour. At paragraph F of Q&A no 32, it is clearly illustrated that the 45-hour week must include meal breaks and not otherwise.
This illustration, in our view, captures the expressed intention of Parliament to reduce working hours from 48 hours to 45 hours a week in absolute terms. In fact, paragraph A, 2(iv) of the FAQ publication states that, in essence, the amendment was intended to bring about “Pengurangan waktu kerja kepada 45 jam seminggu” (a reduction of the working hours to 45 hours a week).
Given the above objective of Parliament, we find it disgusting that employers are belligerently circumventing their obligation to conform with the intention of Parliament to reduce the weekly working hours of workers.
We in Penang MTUC believe that such employers are in contempt of an act of the people’s legislature, Parliament!
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We call upon the Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar to direct the Labour Department to enforce the amendment to the working hour in its strict sense – an absolute reduction of weekly working hours to 45 hours, inclusive of meal breaks and nothing else!
Sivakumar, these incorrigible employers are flouting the progressive transformation of the workers’ plight on such a fundamental issue as the absolute reduction in weekly working hours, as mandated by an act of Parliament. If you fail to rein them in, you ought to contemplate if you deserve to continue as human resources minister!