Press Statement by DAP Secretary-General and Member of Parliament for Bandar Melaka, Mr. Lim Kit Siang on 17th October 1971.
DAP calls on Minister of Labour to take swift and stern action against Killinghall Tin Mine for replacement of 147 permanent workers by contract labour
I welcome the speech by the Minister of Labour, Tan Sri V. Manickavasagam, to the National Mining Workers’ Union of Malaya during the weekend hitting out at employers who replace their staff with contract labour just to cut costs.
However, stronger action than speeches is needed. I have therefore today written to the Minister of Labour asking him to take swift and stern action against the Killinghall Tin Mine management in Puchong, Selangor, which retrenched 147 permanent workers on Oct. 1, and replaced them by cheaper contract labour to cut costs, even though workers who had worked for as long as 19 years were thrown out of work.
This is a blatant anti-labour and anti-social action, which if not sternly stopped, will be followed by other rapacious and heartless employers, leading to great insecurity of job tenure and grave labour unrest.
All over the world, workers are fighting to get contract labour emplaced on the permanent basis, so that workers can enjoy minimum basic rights, in terms of job security, good working conditions, provident fund contributions, medical care, etc. In Malaysia, however we are going backwards, with permanent workers dismissed and replaced by contract labour.
I therefore urge the Minister of Labour to take stern action to compel the Killinghall Tin Mine management to re-employ the 147 workers retrenched, and to show to all other managements in the country that they will not be allowed to retrench workers and replace them with contract workers with impunity.
Stern and swift action is needed, not only to help the 147 workers retrenched get back their jobs, but to prevent thousands of other workers being retrenched by other employers using the same method.
If employers are allowed to get away with such unscrupulous anti-labour action, then we might as well not have any labour laws in the country.
I shall be raising in Parliament this matter if by then it had not been satisfactorily resolved.