No meaning to minimum wage announcement this month when outsourcing contract workers is not outlawed

The most affected by this Contract Workers Policy are the hundreds of thousands of unskilled Indian poor plantation workers, general workers, factory operators, construction workers, cleaners etc.

P.Uthayakumar, De facto leader, Hindraf.

We refer to the news report that the “Minimum wage would be announced this month” (SH 6/3/2012 at page 8).

May we bring to your goodselves’ kind attention that this “historic and much awaited” minimum wage announcement would have no meaning when outsourcing contract workers is also not outlawed. Outsourcing and/or rebranding the unskilled workforce as contract workers or going by the legal terminology “Contract for services’ in effect amounts to modern day slavery. This also goes contrary also to International Standards and principles concerning Decent Wages for Decent Work and Worker Rights.

This “illegal” contract workers policy is becoming a trend by the UMNO-led 1Malay-sian government. It started with the economic boom in the 1990s’ with the influx of some 1.8 Million foreign illegal and legal workers coming into the country under a five year contract for services or five years as contract workers. This contract workers policy however had an unabetted spillover effect on especially the local Indian poor workers in direct contravention of the Employment Act 1955.

Modern day slavery : Indian poor

Why should a third party usually an UMNO-linked RM2.00 Manpower Supplier Company be in the way of Industrial Relations when it has always been a two party direct relationship between owners/operators of work places and their employees even in the British colonial era. Labour suppliers and/or labour contractors should never be or continue to be employers of workers. Within a very short space of time this withering away of the local workers’ rights became the order of the day and today it is done with impunity. This in effect amounts to modern day slavery.

The most affected by this Contract Workers Policy are the hundreds of thousands of unskilled Indian poor plantation workers, general workers, factory operators, construction workers, cleaners etc.

And to add insult to injury, these Indian poor workers can be hired and fired at the absolute will of the Contract Employers @ bosses without even the rightful retrenchment benefits, denied medical benefits, work related accident benefits, and other accident and disability benefits unlike many foreign workers who are required to be insured. The local Indian poor contract workers are also denied Employees Provident Fund, Socso and other benefits.

In effect these Indian poor workers are even worse off than the foreign workers who at the end of the day have a social safety net over their heads ie their villages to go back to in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar etc. Which almost 99% of the Indian poor workers do not have unlike the poor Malays, Chinese, Iban or Kadazan cousins.

Degressive labour policy

This Contract Workers policy is certainly a degressive labour policy in what is otherwise a progressive bi-racial 1 Malay-sia.

We hereby call upon your goodself to simultaneously with the announcement of the minimum wages later this month to also announce the outlawing of contract workers. And for the minimum wages to be set at RM1,500.00 in keeping with 1 Malay-sia being a progressive nation and a civil society. The intended RM800.00 per month (The Sun 13.3.2012 headlines) minimum wage is a mere insulting RM14.00 over and above the official poverty line index at RM786.00 per month.

Our point of reference should be based our immediate neighbour Singapore where SGD 1,500.00 (approximately RM 3,612.00) is about the minimum wage going by the wage of a Security Guard working five days a week on an eight (8) hour shift.

Kindly revert to us accordingly.

Rights not mercy.

Thank You.

Yours Faithfully,
De facto leader, Hindraf.

Note: It has been reported that there are some 356 private employment agencies @ Employment contractors nationwide who even have the capacity to have registered 2,237,978 foreign illegal immigrants registered under 6P within 39 days. See (The Star 26/8/11 at page 2 & NST 20/8/11 at page 5).