May Day Message by DAP Secretary-General, Lim Kit Siang
The Democratic Action Party joins the workers in Malaysia to rededicate themselves to the cause of labour, of raising the status of the working class in Malaysia and enhancing the dignity of their role in building the nation, on the occasion of this year’s May Day.
The workers in Malaysia have been a very downtrodden class of people in a Malaysia where the capital ists and the moneyed interests are given preference and priority in all governmental departments.
The workers must depend on their own muscles and solidarity to wrest from the government their proper place in Malaysia as a partner in development, and not as a slave of development.
The workers have still a long way to go to occupy their deserved place as a partner in development, and greater solidarity and singleness of purpose among the working class is needed for the earlier realisation of this objective.
The workers have suffered greatly this year and the last, with the unchecked inflation reduction their purchasing power and altering adversely their standard of living, as a result of their income remaining static while prices soared.
Nothing will please the workers more, in this May Day in a crisis of inflation in Malaysia, then for the government to make the following announcements:
1. Legislation to compel all private employers to pay COLA to their workers to help them minimize the hardship caused by the gal loping inflation of prices, unless the employers can prove their inability to pay because of business losses;
2. A Royal Commission of Inquiry into the labour laws in the country to remove all those anti-labour provisions which are detrimental to the workers’ interests;
3. Special legislation to protect workers who are informing or joining unions from being victimized, intimidated or even dismissed by their employer, for this is one of the major reasons for the deplorable fact that only some 10% of the working force are organised as members of unions;
4. Raising the interest rate of E.P.F. contributions, so that workers can bake full benefits from their savings; and the complete reorientation of E.P.F. fund expenditure and investment policy, to make use of the E.P.F. funds for investment purposes which directly benefits workers, and not as now, where EPF funds are used to finance projects as benefitting capitalists and other groups, unrelated to workers’ betterment.
5. The orientation of the policies and the attitude of the Labour Ministry, from one which is aimed at managing and bringing workers under control, into one aimed at actively promoting the interests and rights of the workers.