Neglect by past and present governments to conform to ILO requests for information

What the minister ought to affirm in no uncertain terms is the government's willingness to ratify the ILO's core conventions

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As a member state of the International Labour Organization (ILO), our government is under an obligation to respond to requests for information on its course of action in implementing ILO conventions and recommendations.

Sadly, there seems to be a complete neglect on the matter by our governments, past and present!

From what we understand, the ILO’s latest report has classified Malaysia under a “serious failure to submit” category. What is shocking is the disclosure that our government has failed in its fiduciary duty to do so since 2006 – an inordinate delay of about 15 years!

It is, thus, obvious that successive governments – the Barisan Nasional, Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional administrations – had failed to fulfil their obligations to the requirements enshrined in the instruments of the ILO. For an accredited member of the ILO, such outrageous neglect of its inherent duty is devoid of justification!

The current human resources minister has attributed the delay in responding to the ILO request for information to the inability of Parliament to convene to deliberate on the matter.

Without venturing into the polemics of the political manoeuvring to circumvent a legitimate sitting of Parliament, one needs to ponder whether the government has an unfettered commitment to subscribe to the ILO’s core labour standards.

Is our government minded to adopt internationally accepted standards, such as Conventions 189 or 87? This is the question that needs a response from the government of the day.

Regardless of whether Parliament convenes, what the minister ought to affirm in no uncertain terms is the government’s willingness to ratify the ILO’s core conventions such as Conventions 189 and 87.

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So, Mr Minister, the gauntlet has been cast, and the ball is in your court! Tell us, we implore, whether you have the conviction to declare your commitment to ratify ILO Conventions 189, 87 and other core internationally accepted labour standards.

K Veeriah is secretary of the Penang division of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress

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