Minimum wage should be relaxed for disabled people

Minimum wage should be relaxed for disabled people

Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) welcomes the raise of minimum wage as announced in Budget 2016, however KPRU opines that the current minimum wage system is unable to protect the people with disabilities, also known in Malay as Orang Kurang Upaya or Orang Kelainan Upaya, or OKU in short.

This is because the disabled people are unable to compete with the non-disabled people on a level playing field in the working field, where the same minimum wage is offered to all. This will result in difficulties for the disabled people in getting a job. Therefore in KPRU’s opinion, the minimum wage system should be relaxed or be more flexible, in order to encourage employers in giving more opportunities for the disabled.

By looking into the reality of the working world in our country, with the same pay, if a non-disabled person and a disabled person (which the disability is considered to be affecting his or her work performance or outcome) apply for the same job vacancy, the employer would most probably prefer to hire the non-disabled applicant.

In the Budget 2016 speech, Finance Minister Dato’ Seri Najib announced that an employed OKU will get a monthly allowance of RM 350, whereas an unemployed one will get RM 200 per month.

KPRU wishes to affirm that for an unemployed OKU, the monthly allowance of RM 200 is insufficient for their needs, so they will still have to be funded by their families or whatever donations given to them.

KPRU would like to suggest the National Wages Consultative Council (MPGN) to consider the minimum wage system in countries such as the United States and Australia. In the United States, while the minimum wages is generally USD 7.25 per hour, there are a few specific exceptions. Among these, the employment of people with disabilities is completely exempted from the stated minimum wages, as long as the employer obtained permission from the Department of Labor for doing so. With this, the employer may pay their disabled workers a lower wage, therefore giving more job opportunities for the disabled workers.

As for Australia, while the minimum wage is AUD 17.29 per hour, there are also a few specific exceptions. One who is working 38 hours per week would get at least AUD 656.90 (before tax reduction). On the other hand, under the Supported Wage System, a disabled worker would get a minimum wage of AUD 81 per week.

Under the Australian Supported Wage System, the waging of a disabled person is based on their assessed work capacity, which the assessment must be done before hand. With this, for example, one whose assessed work capacity is 70% will be paid 70% of the normal pay of his or her job.

Therefore, we urge the federal ruling government to review the minimum wage systems in the United States and in Australia, and then consider a leniency of minimum wages for the OKU. This is to encourage the private sector to hire OKU, as they would be able to pay a lower wage, and at the same time “doing a favour” in helping the OKU workers to earn a living.

Prime Minister Najib Razak announced in his Budget 2016 speech that starting from 1 July 2016, the monthly minimum wages will be increased from RM 900 to RM 1000 for Peninsular Malaysia, and from RM 800 to RM 920 for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan. This involves all private sectors except domestic workers.

Najib also announced that the lowest starting pay for civil servants is RM 1200 per month, which will potentially benefit 60,000 civil servants.

Released by,
Ooi Heng
Executive director
Political Studies for Change (KPRU)

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Gaji minimum harus dilonggarkan untuk OKU

Gaji minimum harus dilonggarkan untuk OKU

Badan pemikir Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU) mengalu-alukan kenaikan gaji minimum seperti yang yang diumumkan dalam Bajet 2016, namun KPRU berpendapat bahawa sistem gaji minimum yang sedia ada ini tidak mampu melindungi golongan Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) atau juga dikenali sebagai Orang Kelainan Upaya.

Ini kerana warga OKU tidak mampu bersaing dengan pekerja bukan OKU dalam bidang pekerjaan dengan pentas sama rata (level playing field) di mana gaji minimum yang sama ditawarkan kepada semua. Ini akan menyebabkan kesukaran untuk warga OKU mendapat pekerjaan. Oleh itu KPRU berpendapat bahawa sistem gaji minimum harus dilonggarkan atau lebih fleksibel supaya menggalakkan pihak majikan memberi lebih peluang pekerjaan kepada OKU.

Meninjau realiti dunia pekerjaaan di negara kita, dengan gaji yang sama, sekiranya seorang pekerja bukan OKU dan seorang pekerja OKU (di mana kekurangan upayanya dianggap menjejaskan prestasi atau hasil kerjanya) memohon jawatan yang sama, kebarangkalian lebih tinggi bahawa majikan akan memilih untuk mengupah pemohon bukan OKU.

Menteri Kewangan Dato’ Seri Najib dalam ucapan Bajet 2016 mengumumkan bahawa OKU yang bekerja akan mendapat bantuan bulanan sebanyak RM350, manakala OKU yang tidak bekerja akan mendapat RM200.

KPRU ingin menegaskan bahawa, bagi OKU yang menganggur, bantuan bulanan RM200 adalah tidak cukup untuk keperluan mereka, oleh itu mereka tetap perlu dibiayai oleh keluarga mereka atau apa-apa pendermaan yang diberi kepada mereka.

KPRU mencadangkan supaya Majlis Perundingan Gaji Negara (MPGN) mempertimbangkan sistem gaji minimum di negara-negara seperti Amerika Syarikat dan Australia. Di Amerika Syarikat, sedangkan gaji minimum lazimnya ialah USD7.25 setiap jam, terdapat beberapa pengecualian yang tertentu. Antaranya, pengupahan golongan OKU adalah dikecualikan sepenuh-penuhnya daripada gaji minimum yang ditetapkan, asalkan pihak majikan mendapat keizinan daripada Jabatan Tenaga Kerja (Department of Labor) untuk berbuat demikian. Dengan ini, pihak majikan boleh membayar gaji yang lebih rendah untuk pekerja OKU, justeru lebih peluang pekerjaan diberikan kepada pekerja OKU.

Bagi Australia pula, sedangkan gaji minimum ialah AUD 17.29 setiap jam, terdapat juga beberapa pengecualian yang tertentu. Seseorang yang bekerja 38 jam seminggu mendapat sekurang-kurangnya AUD 656.90 setiap minggu (sebelum pemotongan cukai). Namun bagi pengupahan OKU di bawah Supported Wage System pula, seseorang pekerja OKU mendapat gaji minimum AUD 81 seminggu.

Di bawah Supported Wage System Australia, penggajian seseorang pekerja OKU adalah berdasarkan penilaian keupayaan kerja yang wajib dijalankan terhadap mereka. Dengan itu, contohnya, sekiranya seseorang mempunyai keupayaan kerja sebanyak 70%, maka dia akan mendapat 70% daripada gaji yang biasa untuk jawatannya.

Oleh itu, kami menggesa pihak pemerintah pusat supaya meneliti sistem gaji minimum di Amerika Syarikat dan Australia, seterusnya mempertimbangkan kelonggaran gaji minimum bagi golongan OKU. Ini bagi menggalakkan sektor swasta untuk mengupah pekerka OKU, memandangkan mereka dapat membayar gaji yang lebih rendah, dan sekaligus “membuat pahala” membantu pekerja OKU itu dalam pencarian rezeki.

Perdana Menteri Najib Razak dalam ucapan Bajet 2016 mengumumkan bahawa mulai dari 1 Julai 2016, gaji minimum bulanan akan dinaikkan daripada RM900 kepada RM1000 bagi Semenanjung Malaysia dan daripada RM800 kepada RM920 bagi Sabah, Sarawak, dan Labuan. Ini melibatkan semua sektor swasta kecuali perkhidmatan domestik atau pembantu rumah.

Najib juga mengumumkan bahawa gaji permulaan terendah bagi penjawat awam ialah RM1200 sebulan, yang bakal memanfaatkan seramai 60,000 orang penjawat awam.

 

Dikeluarkan oleh,

Ooi Heng

Pengarah eksekutif

Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)

Malaysian Civil Society Strongly Condemns the Abuse of SOSMA by PDRM

Malaysian Civil Societies and NGOs Joint Press Statement on SOSMA, which includes Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU).

Malaysian Civil Society Strongly Condemns the Abuse of SOSMA by PDRM

Malaysian Civil Society strongly condemns the high-handed action of the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) in detaining Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan under the Special Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (SOSMA).

Originally presented by the government as a national security and anti-terrorism measure, SOSMA provides for up to 28 days’ of detention without trial. There is no allegation or evidence of Khairuddin having any credible terrorist background. Instead, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has made it clear that Khairuddin was arrested for lodging reports with investigators in Hong Kong, Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom over the financial scandal involving 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Adding to the abuse of power is the fact that Khairuddin was arrested immediately when he was released by the court after six days’ remand following arrest on Friday 18 September under section 124C of the Penal Code for “activities detrimental to parliamentary democracy”. His re-arrest under SOSMA was under sections 124K and 124L of the Penal Code, which deal with sabotage and attempting to sabotage the state. If found guilty under 124K he faces life imprisonment.

This pattern of arrest and re-arrest following attempts in seeking justice and information on 1MDB through other jurisdictions clearly signals persecution by the state.

Detention without trial is highly repulsive to all democratic nations, the detention of political dissenters under such repressive legislation further highlights SOSMA’s unbridled scope for abuse under its draconian measures.

Clamp down on whistle-blowers

The detention of Datuk Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan under SOSMA has undermined whatever progress Malaysia has made from the dark days of Operasi Lalang. The conduct of the Royal Malaysian Police can be seen as a pathetic attempt to answer the call of its political masters in the current turmoil. The failure to obtain the court’s permission in extension of the remand and the failure to produce any legitimate charge despite the time available for the police should have been a sufficient notice for the police to cease and desist from their harassment against Khairuddin. The decision to re-arrest Khairuddin under SOSMA immediately after the court decision to deny the extension of Khairuddin’s remand shows the true colours of the Royal Malaysian Police. The deplorable course of action shows callous disregard for the rule of law and the role played by the judiciary in the Malaysian legal system.

Corruption by any governmental body is a grave threat against the economic stability of any nation state. Further, in an environment rife with corruption, rule of law that serves as the cornerstone for any democratic nation cannot be practiced. To ensure the continuity and survival of Malaysia as a democratic state, those who have committed act of corruption must not be left unscathed. Allowing those who have conducted themselves in a corrupt manner only allows them to act with impunity and emboldens them to further destabilize and damage the beautiful country that our forefathers have built.

Can PDRM be impartial?

If we account for the gravity of the allegations made in relation to the 1MDB scandal and the great sum in question (RM 2.6billon and rising), it does not take a savant to understand that transparent and impartial investigation by all agencies involved is paramount in ensuring that the truth would prevail and justice would be served. With this in mind, the Malaysian Civil Society seek to remind PDRM of their duties and suggest that they conduct themselves in an impartial and respectable manner and provide adequate assistance to facilitate the investigation. As fellow Malaysians, the PDRM owe themselves and the country a moral and legal duty to act in an impartial manner. The potential economic damage of the alleged corruption revolving around 1MDB is not something that can be brushed off with a wave of a hand and the detention of individuals. Any attempt to further subjugate investigation would only come back to haunt Malaysians today and our future generations. As fellow Malaysians, members of the PDRM would not be safe from the repercussion and fallout from a failed investigation into the 1MDB scandal.

PDRM must be acutely aware of the role that they play and the power they hold in such times. PDRM should strive to be the independent and impartial police force that Malaysia desperately need and cease to be a political tool of those who walk the corridors of power. The decision to detain Khairuddin under SOSMA as part of this ongoing 1MDB scandal shows the world the desperation by those who walk to corridors of power today. PDRM should not debase themselves and serve as tools of such despicable acts.

Political Arrest

To the Government of Malaysia, it is clear that the promises made when SOSMA was first tabled in parliament were nothing but false promises to the people of Malaysia. The Government of Malaysia have clearly reneged on their promises and turned SOSMA into the vengeful spectre of ISA. Detention without trial on its own is repulsive enough that any individual that value freedom in a democratic nation cannot in good conscience be agreeable to legislations that grants such power to enforcement agencies and the government. The application of such measures against political dissenter marks the danger of SOSMA in modern Malaysia and cannot be anything less than a first step back to the dark ages of ISA. The chilling experience and lesson from the dark days of Operasi Lalang should have been a sufficient lesson for all. Lest concrete actions are taken, Malaysia would undoubtedly sink back to the dark days of ISA.

The act of Khairuddin as a whistle-blower does not make him a threat to Parliamentary democracy of Malaysia. If anything at all, his action should be taken as a concern for the

state of affairs in Malaysia and plea for international intervention into a corrupted and failing system. The acts of intimidation through detention under SOSMA would not preserve the national sovereignty of Malaysia. Such acts would only act as a deterrent to potential whistle-blowers that seek to inform Malaysians of the wrongdoing of others. The act of penalizing the messenger and not the wrongdoer cannot be the Malaysian way of tackling wrong-doing in Malaysia. With this in mind, we call for the Government of Malaysia to enact adequate protection of whistle-blowers and cease its detention and harassments against whistle-blowers.

Legal and moral duty of the government

On this note, we, the Civil Society Organisations of Malaysia would like to remind the government of the Right to Liberty of Person guaranteed under the Article 5 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia and the Right to Freedom of Expression provided for under Article 10 of the Federal Constitution of Malaysia. These are rights that are paramount to the continuity of the democratic practices valued by all Malaysians. Any actions to subjugate these values and rights would by default be the true threat against Parliamentary democracy. Irrespective of the prevailing threats by various quarters, the rights paramount to the practice of democracy in Malaysia must never be subject to undue control. The Government of Malaysia would do well to remember the freedoms provided for and guaranteed by Federal Constitution of Malaysia must not be denied to Malaysians with such callousness and apathy.

May we also remind the Government of Malaysia of the obligation of Malaysia as part of the international community. As a member state of the United Nation and a representative in United Nation Security Council, the Government of Malaysia have the legal and moral duty to adhere to the human rights values espoused by international norms and the human rights conventions that they have signed. Further as a member of the United Nation Security Council, Malaysia must conduct itself in a manner that would make Malaysia an exemplary model for human rights for the rest of the world. This can only be achieved if the Government of Malaysia conduct itself in a respectable manner that would not put the nation to shame.

As a society of conscience, we Civil Society Organisations of Malaysia beseech our fellow citizens of Malaysia from all walks of life to unite against these irresponsible and reprehensible actions by governmental agencies. In these trying times, Malaysians must stand in solidarity against these actions that threaten to undo the effort of our forefathers and destroy all that we love and cherish. Malaysian Civil Society must take up the mantle of leadership in such times and show our dissent against such vile and deplorable actions by governmental agencies. Like the anti-Nazi movement at the height of the third Reich, the citizens of Malaysia have a similar duty to show the world that not all Malaysians are content with the present state of affairs and that we will not permit such acts of impunity against the rule of law and personal freedom.

Endorsed by:

Akademi Belia

ALIRAN

All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)

Angkatan Warga Aman Malaysia (WargaAMAN)

BERSIH 2.0

Persatuan Kesedaran Kommuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)

ENGAGE

Federation of Malaysian Indian Organisation (PRIMA)

Gabungan Bertindak Malaysia

Gerakan Hapuskan Akta Hasutan (GHAH)

Institute Rakyat

Islamic Renaissance Front

Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (JOAS)

Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)

KL Tak Nak Insinerator (KTI)

Malaysian Indians Progressive Association (MIPAS)

Malaysians Indians Transformation Action Team (MITRA)

Malaysian Physicians For Social Responsibility

Malaysian Youth Care Association (PRIHATIN)

National Human Rights Society (HAKAM)

Negeri Sembilan Chinese Assembly Hall (NSCAH)

NGO: SHIELD

Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI)

Perak Women for Women Society (PWW)

Persatuan Rapat Malaysia (RAPAT)

PROHAM

Project Dialog

Pusat KOMAS

Sahabat Rakyat 人民之友

Saccess

SAVE Rivers

Sisters in Islam (SIS)

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

Teoh Beng Hock Trust for Democracy

The Malaysian Youth and Students’ Democratic Movement (DEMA)

The Selangor & Kuala Lumpur Foundry & Engineering Industries Association (SFEIA)

Tindak Malaysia

University of Malaya Association of New Youth (UMANY)

(No-) confidence motion in the history of the Malaysian Parliament

(No-) confidence motion in the history of the Malaysian Parliament

The focus of legislative business when Malaysian Parliament resumes sitting on 19 October 2015, apart from the 2016 National Budget, would be, who will bring forth either a confidence motion or a no-confidence motion towards Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

The following questions are what everyone has in mind and being concerned, regarding the Members of Parliament (MP) in the October Parliament meeting:
1. Will Najib propose a confidence motion for himself, in order to address the crisis of confidence he is facing?
2. Will other members of the Cabinet propose a confidence motion for Najib?
3. Will the Barisan National (BN) backbenchers, either individually or collectively, propose either a confidence motion or a no-confidence motion towards Najib?
4. Will the non-BN MP, either individually or collectively, propose a no-confidence motion against Najib?
5. If neither of the above actions occurs, or such action is being vetoed in the Speaker’s office, will the Parliament witness a historic moment of the Budget being defeated?

About 40 years ago, on the next day after the second Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein died of illness in London, which was 15 January 1976, the father of the current Vice-President of UMNO and also the Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, that is, Tun Hussein Onn, took over as the third Prime Minister in a hurry. In that year, during a Parliament meeting, a motion regarding the new Prime Minister Hussein Onn was being debated and passed.

This is the first confidence motion for the Prime Minister, in the history of the Malaysian Parliament. It was not the Prime Minister himself who proposed the motion, but by a BN Senator, Wan Ibrahim Wan Tanjong.

This is the summary of the motion:
The Dewan congratulates Yang Amat Berhormat Datuk Hussein bin Datuk Onn for being appointed by His Majesty the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as the third Prime Minister of Malaysia, and gives him full support and cooperation for him to fulfill his great responsibility as the Prime Minister.

This motion was successfully brought up to the Parliament under Sections 13(1), 25, and 26 of the parliamentary Standing Orders, and was being passed with four absentees and 20 MPs participating in the debate.

On 2 August 1973, then-Deputy Prime Minister Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman died of heart attack. The biographer of Ismail, Dr Ooi Kee Beng, said in the book “The Reluctant Politician: Tun Dr Ismail and His Time” that, as Ismail died, then-Prime Minister Abdul Razak “surprised many” by appointing Hussein Onn as the Deputy.

At that time, Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) was demanding Abdul Razak to appoint then-President of MCA, Tan Siew Sin, as the Deputy Prime Minister II. Tan Siew Sin “was deeply disappointed on being told” that Hussein Onn was to be appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, and questioned “in disbelief”: “What about me?” In the following year, Tan resigned as President of MCA and Finance Minister of the Abdul Razak cabinet, for health reason. Until now, MCA has not only being yet to taste the glory of being appointed as Deputy Prime Minister, but also lost the Finance Ministerial post, a key cabinet post.

In less than two and a half years after Ismail’s death, Abdul Razak died unexpectedly. Under the trend, Hussein Onn took over as the Prime Minister in a hurry, and took up the positions as Finance Minister, Defense Minister, and Minister of Coordination of Public Corporations (Menteri Penyelarasan Perbadanan Awam). In order to enhance the prospect of legitimate rule, Hussein onn decided to do it through a parliamentary motion of confidence, and that was a wise move.

By looking into the background of Wan Ibrahim, who brought up the motion, one can see how much Hussein Onn, who was carrying four cabinet posts at the same time, attached importance to this motion. Wan Ibrahim is a descendant of a noble family in the history of the Pahang Sultanate. Having the pedigree implanted in the local political culture, and on the fact that the Parliament of Malaya/Malaysia had only 17 years of history at that time, by having a representative of the noble class with close historical ties with the royals, to propose a confidence motion in the Parliament, would show that Hussein Onn had a certain requirement in handling details.

Based on my limited local reading experience, out of all the Prime Ministers of Malaysia in history, the historical status of Hussein Onn is given the least importance, and there is less discussion by the academics and the public on his political life during his rule compared to other Prime Ministers. Perhaps because of this, if not because of Najib facing crisis of confidence today, this historic moment of the Parliament in 1976 would not attract attention.

After 32 years, everyone in the country were still immersed in the year of the political tsunami, when the first female Leader of the Opposition of Malaysian Parliament, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, together with another 14 MPs from Pakatan Rakyat, proposed a no-confidence motion against then-Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

This is the summary of the motion:
We are proposing a motion of no confidence against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, because the way he and his cabinet ministers handled the national executive tasks, had cause the people to lose confidence on the integrity of the government.

The motion had no chance to get into the Dewan, as it was being vetoed in the Speaker’s office under Section 18(7) of the parliamentary Standing Orders, on the grounds that the bill stated that a vote to be taken on the no-confidence motion but the provisions it was filed under was to seek “negotiation”.

However, under Sections 27(3) and 45(1) of the parliamentary Standing Orders, it is still possible to table a motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister. Standing Order 27(3) states that, “except as provided in Standing Order 43 and in paragraph (5) of Standing Order 86 and 26(1), not less than fourteen days’ notice of any motion shall be given unless it is in the name of a Minister, in which case seven days’ notice or, if Tuan Yang di-Pertua is satisfied upon representation to him by a Minister that the public interest requires that a motion should be debated as soon as possible, one day’s notice shall be sufficient.”

And a resolution thereof, is provided under the Standing Order 45(1), which states that “subject to the provisions of Clause (1) of Article 89 of the Constitution and Clause (3) of Article 159 of the Constitution and these Orders, the House shall, in accordance with the provisions of Clause (3) of Article 62 of the Constitution take its decision by a simple majority of members voting; and Tuan Yang di-Pertua or any other person presiding shall cast his vote whenever necessary to avoid an equality of votes, but shall not vote in any other case provided that where Tuan Yang di-Pertua is a member of the House by virtue only of paragraph (b) of Clause (1A) of Article 57 of the Constitution, he shall have no casting vote in the House or in any Committee thereof.”

Following the crisis of confidence Najib is facing now, the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat, Pandikar Amin Mulia, said that the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Malaysia has not stated that an MP may propose a no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister. By reviewing two of the (no-)confidence motions that occurred in the history of the Parliament of Malaysia, it shows that Pandikar’s statement can be contested.

Released by,
Ooi Heng
Executive director
Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU – Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan)
1 October 2015