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Sacked employees do have proper recourse

MTUC

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – May 9, 2017: The Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) has dismissed claims that the recent sacking of a well-known comic book artist by his employer was an example of how employees were being maltreated in Malaysia.

Ibrahim Anon, better known Ujang, claimed that he was recently sacked from a Les Copaque-licensed comic magazine, Upin & Ipin, via a text message.

Those who supported him in social media had, among others, cited the number of unfair dismissal claims filed before the industrial court which average 1,700 per year.

To this, MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor said it was unfair to simply tar the country’s human resource scenario by either using Ibrahim’s case or the court’s figures.

“Anyone who feels he has been unfairly dismissed can file the claims and because people always feel like they are the victims in such circumstances, it is self-explanatory how the figures came to be,” he said.

An unfair dismissal claim can be filed with the Industrial Relations Department, either relating to re-hiring or monetary compensation.

“The figures are nothing to worry about. So far there aren’t any indication of a pending massive layoffs like what happened during the Asian financial crisis (of late 1990s),” Halim added.

However, due to the time-consuming nature of handling such claims, Halim suggests that the government form an arbitration body to effectively filter non-starter claims.

“As it is, all claims regardless if they are weak or strong will need to go through the Human Resources Ministry before they go to court.

“Since not all of the 1,700 claims in a year can be disposed of within the same year or the year after, can you imagine the queue?

“Which is why I think an arbitration body should be set up to shorten the queue by offering alternative solutions for weak cases,” said Halim.

On whether it is worthwhile for an employee to file a claim given the long waiting period, Halim said it all boils down to perseverance.

“It does not matter if you are unfairly dismissed or constructively dismissed. If you strongly believe that you are right why shouldn’t you fight for your justice?

“The case may stretch for years but this is all to ensure that when the verdict is delivered, it is beyond reasonable doubt,” said Halim.

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About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

Despite becoming The MOLE's journalist in 2014, he still has a hard time traversing the city. If he is not lost, this northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make some sense out of the Malaysian political sphere.