No guarantee of rights

Same as last year

Workers' rights violations

Right to trade union activities

In Malaysia, the government proposed new amendments to the Trade Union Bill in July 2022, including a “fourth schedule” which links offences under the bill to Penal Code provisions relating to acts of terrorism and organised crime. It would mean that if a union commits any offence in the ‘fourth schedule’, the Director-General could cancel or withdraw the union’s certification or withdraw permission for affiliation to global unions. The unions feared that such provisions could cripple them.

Right to justice

In Malaysia, Sabri bin Umar, a migrant worker, was whipped while in detention at the Tawau prison on 23 June 2022, despite there being an appeal pending at the High Court regarding his conviction. Sabri bin Umar was accused of not having a valid entry and work permit and was later charged under Immigration Act no. 1959/63. However, easily accessible evidence shows that Bin Umar had been a documented migrant worker for the past seven years, and that he was employed by Fu Yee Corporation Sdn Bhd in Tawau, Sabah at the time. His work permit had also been renewed by the Immigration Department in 2022 and was valid for a year.

During the trial, Bin Umar did not have access to representation, and the prosecution presented false evidence leading to his unfair conviction. On 19 April 2022, Bin Umar was sentenced by the Session Court to an 11-month imprisonment and five whippings.

The Immigration Act was amended and, as of August 2002, the sentence of whipping was introduced for use against undocumented migrants. According to the Prisons Department records, 47,914 foreigners were found to have violated the Immigration Act from 2002 to 2008. Of these, 34,923 were whipped.

Union busting

At the end of March 2022, the Electronics Industry Employees’ Union, Northern Region (EIEUNR) exposed union busting at Molex Malaysia, an electronics components manufacturer, as workers were preparing for a secret ballot on joining EIEUNR.

Management organised a townhall meeting with workers, urging them not to vote for the union and threatening that they would risk losing bonuses and benefits if they were to do so.

The union lodged a complaint against Molex Malaysia with the Industrial Relations Department (IRD). It submitted a recording in which the human resources director was threatening to cut benefits if workers decided to vote for the union. The union had another recording with similar threats, where the HR director instructed managerial and supervisory staff to convince operators to vote against the union.

The Industrial Relations Department initiated an investigation and put the secret ballot on hold.

The matter had not been resolved by mid-September 2022 and EIEUNR launched an online petition to call on Molex to stop union busting and to respect the workers’ right to choose their own union and to bargain collectively with the employer.

Workers’ rights in law

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