Sabah not consulted: SLS
Published on: Friday, October 11, 2019
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KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Law Society (SLS) is greatly concerned about proposed amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 (IRA) which will be tabled in the current Parliament session as it was never consulted despite the application of the IRA nationwide. 

Its President, Roger Chin said this in response to Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran’s announcement Wednesday on the proposed amendments, where he was also reported as saying the views of the stakeholders including the National Labour Advisory Council, Malaysian Employers Federation and Malaysian Trades Union Congress had been taken into account.

“The SLS takes the stand that the Human Resources Minister should firstly consult all the relevant stakeholders, including the SLS, before tabling the proposed amendments, as the proposed amendments, if approved, would affect the rights of the people in Sabah,” said Chin, in a statement, Thursday.      

As an example, he said, the provision relating to the qualification of President and Chairman of Industrial Court does not take into account a qualified person as defined in the Advocates Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 2) (Advocates Ordinance). 

“The proposed amendments to Section 23A (2) of the IRA state that “…a qualified person as defined in the Legal Profession Act 1976 [Act 166] or any laws replacing it, with at least fifteen years of experience in labour and industrial relations in the ministry charged with the responsibility for human resources may be considered for appointment as a Chairman under subsection 23(2).   

“The proposed amendments discriminate against a qualified person under the Advocates Ordinance, e.g. Sabahan lawyers, as he/she will not be accorded the same opportunity as a qualified person under the Legal Profession Act 1976, e.g. West Malaysian lawyers, for consideration for appointment as a Chairman of the Industrial Court,” he said.  

The SLS was similarly not consulted in regards to the proposed amendments to the Labour Ordinance (Sabah Cap. 67), which is only applicable in Sabah, he said, adding the SLS and all other relevant stakeholders in Sabah should be consulted on all amendments to the law affecting Sabah. 

“As the SLS was not consulted, and has only recently been provided a copy of the proposed amendments to the IRA by the Human Resources Ministry upon an official request being made, it has not had sufficient time to review the proposed amendments in depth...SLS will write to the Minister of Human Resources in due course to inform of SLS’ views of the proposed amendments,” he said.

SLS urged the Government to withhold passing the proposed amendments to the IRA in its current form, to re-draft it and re-table it with amendments only after all the views of the relevant stakeholders including the SLS are considered. 


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