KUALA LUMPUR, 9 April 2009: The MTUC has described the new cabinet as a “compromise cabinet’ because the Prime Minister had to take into consideration the interest of various ethnic and political groups.
Nevertheless its president, Syed Shahir Syed Mahmoud hoped the new team would give due cognizance to the workers who form almost half of Malaysia’s population.
He pointed out that over the last 30 years workers have been neglected and there were numerous problems that remained unresolved.
Among them were minimum wage, cola (cost of living allowance), labour laws which were biased towards employers and security of employment.
He said MTUC also hoped that the new government would have frequent formal dialogues with workers’ representatives to thrash out problems and resolve them.
Syed Shahir added that the workforce today was young, in the age group of 18-40 years, and the government should not use “old methods” to look into their needs.
“These young educated workforce should be handled in a different way so as to ensure continued industrial harmony and progress for the nation.”
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) secretary-general, Muhammad Shaani Abdullah said the new government should work towards reducing the burden faced by the ordinary man in the street.
He wanted the rates of basic needs like electricity and water to be brought down to a more affordable level.
Muhammad said this could be done if leakages in awarding of tenders and contracts were plugged.
“Tenders and contracts should be awarded on an open basis to avoid abuse and cut down cost.”
He also suggested that the new government work quietly and sincerely without undue publicity as so much money, time and effort were wasted in inviting and entertaining ministers when they came to open projects.
“In other words the tradition of cutting ribbon should be abolished,” he said.
The Executive Director of the Malaysian Employers Federation, Shamsuddin Bardan was disappointed that the Higher Education Ministry was not merged with the Education Ministry.
He said two ministries handling the same issue was a waste of resources.
He called on the new team at the finance ministry to get cracking and implement the stimulus packages which had been announced by the previous government.
“We expect faster implementation and greater improvement in the government’s delivery system,” he added.
Shamsuddin was glad that a green technology ministry had been formed and described it as a great step forward as the world was now moving in that direction.
He was also glad that the Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam was retained as the present economic situation warranted that the projects started by him should be seen through to success.
The National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP), Lok Kim Pheng said by appointing the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, to also head the Education Ministry, was a great recognition to the teachers.
“We are really honoured to have him as our minister and hope that our voices could be heard loud and clear by the new government,” she said.
She pledged full support and cooperation to Muhyiddin. — Bernama