Najib Announces 5 Labour Day Gifts for Workers

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Gifts encompass special allocations, minimum wage, social security coverage, welfare of employees’ families and preparation of workers for transition into Industrial Revolution 4.0.

  1. Special allocation of RM3 million this year for workers’ unions in private sector 
  2. Raising minimum wage
  3. Three days’ paternity leave for male workers in private sector
  4. Increased social security coverage
  5. Equipping workforce with skills for Industrial Revolution 4.0

The sacrifices made by more than 14 million private sector workers and civil servants were given due recognition by the government on Tuesday, with the announcement of five ‘special gifts’ in conjunction with Labour Day 2018.

The gifts encompass special allocations, minimum wage, social security coverage, welfare of employees’ families, as well as preparing them for the transition into Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in announcing the measures, said a special allocation of RM3 million for workers’ unions in the private sector this year was made in recognition of the principle of ‘walak’ (loyalty) towards the government, which he said serves as the backbone of the nation’s workforce.

“The allocation will be channelled to the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), who will, in turn, disburse it to the rest of the workers’ unions for their benefit,” he said while delivering his Labour Day 2018 message at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).

Also present were Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Zainal Rahim Seman, Human Resources Ministry secretary-general Datuk Dr Mohd Gazali Abas, MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor, and Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda.

The 46th Labour Day celebrations, themed ‘Pekerja Berkemahiran: Peneraju Kecemerlangan Negara’ (Skilled Workers: Drivers of the Nation’s Excellence), was attended by more than 5,000 workers from various sectors, also saw awards presented to 11 recipients.

Najib, who is also Barisan Nasional chairman, said MTUC had championed for a minimum wage policy since 1988, but the country’s leader at the time did not entertain the request, which left some workers earning a measly RM400 a month.

“Without needing to wait for 22 years, I had during the 2011 Budget tabling in October 2010, announced a minimum wage of RM900 for the Peninsular and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak, done via the National Minimum Wage Order.

“I will also raise the minimum wage, currently at RM1,000 for the Peninsular and RM920 for Sabah and Sarawak, to a new rate, which will be announced this year.

Sairien Nafis

“If you want a higher rate, you know what to do this coming May 9 (polling day). “Can this be done?” he asked, to a chorus of approval from the crowd in Dewan Merdeka.

Najib said, as the son of former Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, who had first declared May 1 as Labour Day and a public holiday, he would continue to fight and uphold the workers’ struggles in the next five years.

Touching on the importance of fostering happy and well-balanced families, Najib said the government will amend relevant laws, at the latest by 2019, to enable a minimum of three days paternity leave for male workers in the private sector.

Najib also announced an additional RM60 million allocation for Socso’s Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) to raise interim aid this year to RM1,000 for the first month; RM800 for the second month and subsequently RM600.

He said an RM200 million allocation is provided through the Human Resources Development Fund Bhd (HRDF) to certify 4,000 workers via the Recognition of Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) scheme. This, he said, will enable the workforce to be equipped with the necessary skills to make the leap into the Industrial Revolution 4.0.

Najib also said that the BN government would protect the welfare of the self-employed, including those in the e-hailing service industry, should it win the 14th General Election, unlike the opposition, who are seeking to review the e-hailing industry for the sake of securing votes. – NST