Traders have urged Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar to postpone the implementation of the Labor Law amendment, pending a discussion on the matter.
In a letter to the Minister, five groups representing traders expressed concern about the negative impact of the amendment on the trade sector, which they said had only just begun to recover after the Covid-19 pandemic. . Calling for a second postponement of its implementation, they said traders were suffering from “severe” shortages, supply chain disruptions, high prices and high overtime wages. .
“Increasing the minimum wage from RM2,001 to RM4,000 for workers’ overtime pay entitlement will have a significant impact on wages and will also result in a significant increase in overtime wages. “This is exacerbated by severe labor shortages, thus forcing overtime into incomplete work,” they said in the joint letter.
They also oppose the 45-hour work week, saying that the existing 48-hour week is “ideal” because of ongoing unemployment. The group also said that giving women a 98-day leave would disrupt employment and harm women in terms of employment.
“The main driver of this long leave is the shortage of suitable childcare workers, which makes it difficult for mothers to return to work. “Applying for other hospitals and children’s centers is the best and most effective solution.”
They added that the provision of flexible working hours was also not suitable for the commercial sector, citing its core business hours of 10am to 10pm.
Describing working from home (WFH) as “inconvenient” in their industry, the union said the shift to WFH could discourage unproductive workers, leading to unemployment, among other things. “We encourage the Minister’s staff to quickly assess our situation as stated and seek his interest in dialogue to better understand the situation and seek more practical solutions.
“This will allow us to confidently continue the recovery process with the best opportunities for renewal, survival and sustainability,” they said. It was signed by Bumiputra Retailers Organization (BRO), Federation of Malaysian Business Associations (FMBA), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) and Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK).
Amendments to the Employment Act seek to protect the interests of workers and bring the country’s standards in line with International Labor Organization (ILO) agreements. It was originally planned to be implemented on September 1, but was later delayed until January 1.