Abdullah should give workers good news when he attends Saturday’s Workers’ Day gathering in Bukit Jalil on the government’s positive response to the MTUC’s general election manifesto and its long-standing grievance on the pile-up of 6,000 cases jammed in the office of Fong Chan Onn and not referred to Industrial Court
Media Conference Statement (2)
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi should give workers good news when he attends Saturday’s Workers’ Day gathering in Bukit Jalil on the government’s positive response to the MTUC’s general election manifesto and its long-standing grievance on the pile-up of 6,000 cases jammed in the office of the Human Resources Minister, Datuk Dr. Fong Chan Onn and not referred to the Industrial Court.
During the recent general election in March, MTUC came out with a general election manifesfo on issues which concerned the workers, chief among which include:
Abdullah should in particular focus on a very blatant and flagrant case of industrial injustice caused by the insensitivity, inefficiency and irresponsibility of Fong Chan Onn in accumulating an unbelievable backlog of 6,000 cases of industrial disputes, mostly dismissals, jammed in his office and awaiting his decision to refer them to the Industrial Court.
A few days ago, the MTUC Financial Secretary, A. Sivanathan told me of a shocking case involving the dismissal of a Malay driver in a bus company, which Fong took six long years to refer to the Industrial Court. The worker was dismissed in January 1998 and Fong only referred his case to the Industrial Court six years later in January 2004.
When the case is finally heard by the Industrial Court, and if the Industrial Court’s decision is challenged all the way to the High Court and Court of Appeal, it may be a full ten years before this case is finally disposed of. Is this the speedy industrial justice that Parliament had envisioned when it established the Industrial Court to obviate the infamous delays of the courts to dispense quick industrial justice?
Can Fong explain why he had been sleeping on his Ministerial duties as to pile up 6,000 outstanding cases, mostly dismissals, awaiting his decision to refer them to the Industrial Court. As “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”, Abdullah should give his personal attention to resolve this manifest and blatant industrial justice committed none other than by his own Cabinet Minister in charge of Human Resources – with the workers the victims.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Timor