Friday, April 15, 2011


Malaysian Trades Union Congress

Affiliated to International Confederation Of Trade Unions)

Sarawak Elections 2011 – Don’t Neglect Workers, Again

 Minimum wage
 COLA & High Cost Of Living
 Rescind SLO exemptions

It is regrettable that the State Government, do NOT engaged trade unions and workers representatives at all when formulating economic and development policies. As a results, Sarawakian workers do not benefit from the billions generated by the Timber and oil palm industry.

Despite Impressive economic Growth and rapid development since independence, wages of Sarawakian workers remains low. Employers, with the help of gov’t are very successful in suppressing wages.

Daily wages at are just $12.00 a day in timber camps; Supermarket girls earn less than $500; Workers at fast Food restaurants in Spring Shopping Mall are paid just $2.30 an hour, all below poverty line of $842.

Tens of thousands of Sarawakian have to leave their families to work in Singapore, Johore, KL and Penang. Is this what development has brought to Sarawakian? – Just thousands and thousands of foreign workers?

Sarawak Labour Ordinance (SLO)

The State government has pampered the rich employers and timber tycoons by granting exemption to employers under the SLO for those employees earning $2000 to $2500 and also all employees in the timber and oil palm are denied basic benefits like annual leave, rest days, public holidays and overtime.


We don’t need reminding of the crippling impact on our meager income caused by the fuel price hike that escalated into price increase in everything.

In Sarawak, cost of living is 15% TO 25% higher compared to West Malaysia. While government employeers have a regional allowance, private sector employees do not. Remember the regional allowance is for the difference in the cost of living, not for the increase in the cost of living since the petrol hike.
As the result of the higher cost in Sarawakian, any subsequent increase in the cost of living the past 5 years is relatively higher in Sarawak, Example Cost of New Strait Times was increased by 20% from $1.00 to $1.20 in West Malaysia. In Sarawak, it was increased from $1.20 to $1.60 – a 50% increase. Low Cost house cost $96,000 partly because SECSO capital contributors are extremely high.

Yet the State Government refuses to pay COLA to public sector employees in Sarawak when State Government in Penang, Kedah and Selangor & Kelantan pay COLA to their employees. Even Banks pay COLA in West Malaysia but NOT Sarawakian.

Worse State Government Link Companies dismissed Union Officials for trying to improve working condition for rubbish collector.

Higher wages leads to higher economic growth and more business for companies.


The Government has NOT increase retirement age for all workers to at least 60 to address the following issues:
• Rapid increase in the life expectancy
• Reducing cost of pension and burden on government to provide healthcare.
• Ensuring adequate retirement savings when workers finally retire.
• Reducing reliance on Foreign workers.

 The Government must stop pampering timber tycoons and plantation owners TO suppress wages
 The Government must reducing foreign workers
 The Government must allow trade unions more influence
 The government must create decent and high value jobs
 The Government must introduce a minimum wage

It is indeed regrettable that Political parties from Barisan Nasional decline our invitation to our MTUC forum on 7 April 2011 to discuss the issues facing Sarawakian workers. They are not concerned about the plight of workers. Only representatives from PKR & DAP attended.

We call on all Sarawakian workers to vote for those candidates and parties that really look after the interest of workers, not those parties who only serve big companies and billionaires.

Sarawakian workers must take care of their families and must vote pro workers candidates to stop the exploitation on the past 40 years.

Don’t be Short – Changed anymore.