Malaysian unions urge gov't regulators to address work-related accidents

The BWI Malaysia Liaison Council (BWI-MLC) met officials of the Malaysian Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) and the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) on 23 September to bring their attention to serious gaps in the implementation of workplace safety laws.

BWI-MLC Chair Nor Azlan Yaacob said that the said meetings are important for them to build healthy working relationships with key government agencies and ensure the proper and full implementation of safety laws. 

(DOSH visit L-R Janice Ananthan, BWI Campaign Officer, Fatimah Mohamad, the auditor of BWI-MLC, Kamarul Baharin Mansor, the General Secretary of the Malaysian Trade Union Council, DOSH Director-General Husdin Bin Che Amat, BWI-MLC Chair Nor Azlan Yaacob, Mr Azhar Abdul Shukor, the auditor, Regional Executive Officer, Suhaime Sulaiman, and Regional Programme Officer, Najrina Jalil.)

In their meeting with DOSH, Azlan discussed Malaysia’s high number of occupational accidents and lack of reporting of occupational diseases for both documented and undocumented workers. 

DOSH Director General Husdin Bin Che Amat responded by sharing DOSH’s investigative and penal procedures, collaborations with other agencies and initiative to review the gaps in the implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994. Husdin noted the challenge in gathering information on occupational accidents involving migrant workers and pointed to the importance of partnerships with different stakeholders, like BWI-MLC, in improving their work. 

DOSH also agreed with BWI-MLC on the need to reform existing safety laws to respond better to new realities. However, Husdin observed that the political environment has stymie is also a challenge.

(CIDB visit Bottom Row L-R: BWI-MLC Chair Nor Azlan Yaacob and CIDB State Director, Zainora Zainal.  Top Row L-R:  CIDB Staff Najwa Fdzln, CIDB staff Wan Hazwani, BWI-MLC Secretary Mr Azhar Abdul Shukor, Regional Executive Officer, Suhaime Sulaiman, CIDB staff Muhamad Noor, BWI Campaign Officer, Janice Ananthan, Auditor of BWI-MLC, Fatimah Mohamad and Regional Programme Officer, Najrina Jalil)

Meanwhile, in a separate meeting, CIDB State Director Zainora Zainal mentioned several common issues that they have encountered in the construction sector amidst a pandemic. This include non-compliance with the law, non-registration of construction companies, wage theft and various other violations of standards of procedures. 

BWI-MLC and CIDB both agreed to work together to offer remedial solutions to respond to the issues, such as developing and holding a training workshop for Malaysian contractors, developers and owners.