Delegates reject politicians

(Bernama) – The 500,000 strong Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Wednesday sent out a clear and strong signal that they did not want their organization to be hijacked by politicians by electing a non-politician unionist Mohd Khalid Atan as their new president.

Khalid, of the Timber Workers Union, defeated Syed Shahhir Syed Mahmoud, a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) member who had led the organization for the past six years.

Syed’s running mate for the powerful post of Secretary-General, Abdullah Sani Abdul Halim, who is the PKR Member of Parliament for Kuala Langat, also lost to Khalid’s teammate Abdul Halim Mansor, from the Petroluem and Chemical Industries Union.

Abdul Halim, a two-term Deputy Secretary-General, was mentored in the intricacies of the trade union organization by none other than highly respected trade unionist and long-time Secretary-General G. Rajasegaran, who retired from the movement after almost 40 years of illustrious service.

MTUC sources said the Khalid-Abdul Halim team was quite formidable and inclusive and would help to unite the movement and put back the congress on its original path of being the “true champion of workers in the country”.

Khalid told Bernama that his first task would be to unite the organization and work towards achieving substantial benefits for workers.

He felt that for too long the organaisation had been perceived as an anti-government outfit and he was determined to change this perspection and genuinely work for the betterment of the workers and the nation.

This is the first time in almost 30 years that politicians were rejected by the membership.