Prosedur, garis panduan CIDB: Sekadar ‘hiasan’ atau undang-undang wajib dipatuhi? (Malay/English)

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File photo: sulekha.com

[ENGLISH VERSION BELOW] Kami, 56 organisasi, kumpulan dan kesatuan sekerja, yang disenaraikan di bawah, memandang berat kekurangan penguatkuasaan undang-undang dan pendakwaan yang nyata terhadap majikan, kontraktor dan pemaju termasuk pengarah dan CEO (ketua pegawai eksekutif) yang melanggar undang-undang yang telah wujud untuk memastikan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja, termasuk juga semasa perintah kawalan pergerakandi mana pekerja perlu selamat daripada Covid-19.

Kini tidak nampak mana-mana pengarah, CEO, pengurus dan pegawai bertanggungjawab dibicarakan, disabitkan atau dipenjarakan walaupun terdapat banyak kes kemalangan pekerjaan yang menyebabkan kematian, serta jangkitan Covid-19 dikalangan pekerja.

Dari Januari hingga Mac 2020, Jabatan Keselamatan dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan melaporkan kemalangan pekerjaan yang telah mengakibatkan 1,770 pekerja hilang upaya sementara, 65 hilang upaya kekal dan 61 mati.

Menurut undang-undang yang sedia ada, majikan sentiasa mempunyai kewajipan untuk memastikan persekitaran kerja yang selamat dan sihat.

Kewajipan ini bukan hanya sekadar untuk memastikan pekerja bebas dari penyakit sebagai syarat bagi perniagaan berkenaan menyambung semula operasi, atau justifikasi untuk penutupan sementara tempat kerja apabila kes Covid-19 dikesan (atau bila berlakunya kemalangan industry).

Pihak, termasuk orang perseorangan, yang bertanggungjawab untuk ketidakpatuhan obligasi undang-undang harus dipertanggungjawabkan secara peribadi, dan harus ada pendakwaan dan sabitan untuk memastikan tanggungjawab undang-undang majikan ini akan sentiasa dilaksanakan.

Kekurangan pendakwaan, perbicaraan dan sabitan memberikan tanggapan bahawa kerajaan kurang mementingkan atau prihatin keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja.

Prosedur, garis panduan CIDB wujud sejak 22 April 2020

Pada 26 Mei 2020, akbar New Straits Times telah melaporkan 88 kes positif Covid-19 dikesan di tiga kluster tapak pembinaan, satu di Selangor dan dua di Kuala Lumpur. Ini amat membimbangkan, memandangkan kes-kes ini dikesan lebih daripada sebulan selepas Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan (CIDB) mengumumkan peraturan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerjaan yang ketat pada 22 April 2020, yang merangkumi bukan sahaja tempat kerja tetapi juga tempat tinggal pekerja.

Walaupun tapak pembinaan tidak beroperasi, majikan/kontraktor masih mempunyai kewajiban undang-undang dan tanggungjawab untuk memastikan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja di tempat tinggal pekerja mereka.

Pada 22 April 2020, CIDB, di bawah Kementerian Kerja Raya, telah mengeluarkan:

  • Porosedur standard operasi
  • Garis panduan amalan langkah pencegahan di tapak bina
  • Garis panduan operasi tempat kerja berpusat dan penginapan pekerja

Menteri Kerja Raya dilaporkan berkata “sebarang pelanggaran SOP boleh dikenakan tindakan di bawah Akta Pencegahan dan Pengawalan Penyakit Berjangkit 1988 (Akta 342) dan Akta Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia 1994 (Akta 520)” (Edge Markets, 22 April 2020).Mungkin munasabah kalau dikatakan pekerja yang menunjukkan gejala Covid-19 dan/atau dikesan positif dalam tempoh 14 hari sejak penguatkuasaan syarat tersebut mungkin telah dijangkiti sebelum 22hb April. Tetapi apabila dikesan positif lebih dari sebulan kemudian, ini bermaksud mereka, secara munasabah, telah dijangkiti dalam masa 14 hari (atau kurang) lalu.

Apabila mana-mana jangkitan dikesan lebih dari 14 hari selepas 22 April 2020, anggapan adalah terdapat pelanggaran undang-undang oleh pihak majikan, kontraktor, pemaju dan/atau ejen mereka.

Oleh yang demikian, ketiadaan lapuran penyiasatan dan/atau pendakwaan ke atas majikan, kontraktor dan/atau pemaju amat membimbangkan. Penguatkuasaan dan pendakwaan yang ketat adalah amat penting demi menjamin keselamatan pekerja di masa depan.

Kekurangan pendakwaan menunjukkan kemungkinan kemungkiran janji menteri kerja raya, yang diberikan pada 22/04/2020 yang mengatakan bahawa tindakan akan diambil sekiranya terdapat pengingkaran.

Peraturan, garis panduan, prosedur operasi tidak diwartakan – ada kuasa undang undang?

Tanpa diwartakan, timbul pertanyaan sama ada sebarang pelanggaran atau ketidakpatuhan peraturan, prosedur standard operasi dan garis panduan dapat dikenakan tindakan undang-undang, apa lagi pendakwaan dan penyabitan yang berkesan.

Untuk sektor pembinaan, selain daripada prosedur standard operasi dan garis panduan baru-baru ini, CIDB sejak 2018 juga mempunyai garis panduan untuk kemudahan dan penginapan pekerja sementara pembinaan.

Malangnya, nampaknya prosedur standard operasi dan garis panduan ini semua belum diwartakan di bawah Akta CIDB, dan ini menimbulkan persoalan sama ada majikan terikat dibawah undang-undang untuk mematuhinya, dan adakah ketidakpatuhan akan membawa kepada pendakwaan, perbicaraan dan/atau sabitan.

Dilaporkan bahawa pada 31 Mei 2020, CIDB memeriksa 110 tapak pembinaan di seluruh negara, dan mendapati hanya 21 lokasi yang mematuhi prosedur standard operasi. Tiga tapak hanya diberi amaran, manakala tindakan diambil terhadap 76 tapak (Berita Harian, 1 Jun 2020).

Namun, tidak ketemui apa-apa berita sama ada syarikat, pengarah dan individu yang melanggar undang-undang ini telah didakwa di mahkamah, didenda dan/atau dipenjarakan. Maklumat ini sangat penting bagi pekerja, dan persepsi umum. Kegagalan mendakwa boleh menunjukkan kemunafikan kerajaan.

Hak untuk persekitaran kerja yang selamat adalah hak asasi manusia

“Setiap individu mempunyai hak untuk hidup, bekerja … untuk keadaan kerja yang adil dan baik … Setiap orang berhak untuk taraf hidup yang memadai demi kesihatan dan kesejahteraan dirinya dan keluarganya …” (dari Deklarasi Sejagat Hak Asasi Manusia, PBB, 1948).

Artikel 7 dari Kovenan Internasional mengenai Hak Ekonomi, Sosial dan Budaya (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), yang mula berkuatkuasa pada tahun 1976, menyatakan: “Negara Pihak pada Kovenan ini mengakui hak setiap orang untuk menikmati kondisi kerja yang adil dan menguntungkan, dan khususnya: .. (b) Kondisi kerja yang selamat dan sihat;… ”

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Perlembagaan Petubuhan Buruh Antarabangsa (ILO) menetapkan prinsip bahawa pekerja mesti dilindungi dari penyakit dan kecederaan akibat pekerjaan mereka.

Sehingga kini, seolah-olah hampir tiada majikan, kontraktor atau pemaju, dan pengarah dan/atau pegawai mereka yang telah didakwa kerana melanggar undang-undang keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja, termasuk Akta Keselamatan dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan 1994, Akta Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia 1994 (Akta CIDB) dan Akta Pencegahan dan Pengawalan Penyakit Berjangkit 1988 dalam tempoh perintah kawalan pergerakan untuk menangani pandemik Covid-19 walaupun terdapat laporan media mengenai ramai pekerja yang dijangkiti Covid-19 di tempat kerja dan/atau penginapan pekerja.

Bila peraturan di bawah Akta Pencegahan dan Pengawalan Penyakit Berjangkit semuanya telah diwartakan, ianya jelas untuk semua mengenai apa yang boleh atau tidak boleh lakukan, dimana pengingkaran akan menyebabkan pendakwaan, perbicaraan serta sabitan, prosedur standard operasi dan garis panduan CIDB (yang terbaru) masih belum diwartakan.

Begitu juga, terdapat banyak prosedur standard operasi, garis panduan dan piawaian di bawah undang-undang lain yang berkaitan dengan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja yang masih belum diwartakan.

Tidak ada gunanya jika prosedur standard operasi, garis panduan, piawaian dan/atau dokumen sedemikian jika hanya merupakan cadangan atau nasihat kepada majikan kerana ini bererti bahawa ketidakpatuhan tidak akan menyebabkan apa-apa penyiasatan, pendakwaan ataupun sabitan untuk majikan, kontraktor, pemaju, pengarah dan/atau pengurus mereka yang mengingkarinya.

Majikan tidak patut diberi pilihan mengenai apa yang harus mereka lakukan berkaitan dengan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja. Tanggungjawab ini mesti diwajibkan kerana ia berkenaan pengurangan risiko penyakit, kecederaan dan kematian di kalangan pekerja.

Maka, kami

  • Menyeru kerajaan untuk mendedahkan senarai majikan, kontraktor, pemaju, pengarah, CEO dan pegawai lain yang bertanggungjawab yang telah disiasat, didakwa dan disabitkan kerana melanggar undang-undang keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja selama tempoh perintah kawalan pergersakan ini
  • Menuntut supaya peraturan khusus untuk tempat kerja dan kediaman pekerja diwujudkan untuk melindungi pekerja dari Covid-19 dan/atau penyakit berjangkit yang lain
  • Menuntut perwartaan semua peraturan, piawaian, prosedur standard operasi, garis panduan dan instrumen sedemikian yang lain berkenaan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja yang akan menjadikannya kewajiban undang-undang di mana ketidakpatuhan akan menyebabkan pengingkar didakwa di mahkamah. Apabila tidak diwartakan, ia hanyalah mungkin berfungsi sebagai cadangan atau nasihat sahaja, di mana majikan ada pilihan mematuhi atau tidak
  • Menuntut Malaysia mengiktiraf Covid-19 sebagai penyakit pekerjaan di bawah Akta Keselamatan dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan dan semua undang-undang lain yang berkaitan dengan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerja yang akan meletakan kewajipan undang-undang jelas kepada majikan untuk memastikan pekerja selamat
  • Menuntut Malaysia mengkaji semula semua undang-undang berkenaan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerjaan, yang mungkin juga meliputi peningkatan hukuman sedia ada kepada hukuman yang lebih berat atau deteren terutamanya apabila ketidakpatuhan menyebabkan kecederaan dan/atau kematian
  • Menuntut Malaysia meratifikasi Perjanjian Antarabangsa Hak-Hak Ekonomi, Sosial dan Budaya (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), Konvensyen International Labour Organization (ILO) 167 – Keselamatan Keselamatan dan Kesihatan dalam Pembinaan 1988 (ILO Convention 167 -Safety and Health in Construction Convention 1988), Konvensyen ILO 155 – Konvensyen Keselamatan dan Kesihatan Pekerjaan 1981(ILO Convention 155 – Occupational Safety and Health Convention 1981) dan semua konvensyen lain berkenaan keselamatan dan kesihatan pekerjaan pekerja

English version

CIDB’s standard operating procedures, guidelines – Mere sham or imposes legal obligations?

We, the 56 undersigned organisations, groups and trade unions, are concerned about the lack of obvious enforcement and prosecution of employers, contractors, developers including directors and CEOs when they violate laws meant to ensure worker safety and health, even during this movement control order where workers ought to be kept safe from Covid-19.

No directors, CEOs, managers and officers responsible have to date been seen to be tried, convicted and even sent to prison despite there being so many fatal accidents, injuries and even Covid-19 infections of workers. However, from January to March 2020, the Department of Occupational Safety and Health reported occupational accidents resulted in 1,770 non-permanent disabilities, 65 permanent disabilities and 61 deaths of workers.

The legal obligation of the employer is to always provide a safe and healthy environment for workers.

This obligation is not simply about satisfying the condition that workers are disease-free for the business to begin operations or for the temporary shutdown of worksites when a Covid-19 infection is detected or an industrial accident happens.

The persons responsible for the non-compliance must be held personally responsible, and there must be prosecution and conviction under the laws that impose legal obligations on employers.

The lack of prosecution, trials and convictions, gives the impression that the government is less concerned about the safety and health of workers.

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Procedures, guidelines existed since 22 April

Eighty-eight positive Covid-19 cases have been reportedly detected at three construction site clusters, one in Selangor and two in Kuala Lumpur (New Straits Times, 26 May 2020). It is disturbing that these cases were detected more than a month after the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) announced strict occupational safety and health requirements on 22 April 2020, which covers not just work sites but also workers’ accommodation.

Even if the construction site is not operational, employers and contractors still have a legal obligation and duty of care to ensure workers’ safety and health at workers’ accommodation.

It is important to note that on 22 April, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), which comes under the Ministry of Works, issued:

  • Standard operating procedures
  • Guidelines on preventive measures and steps at construction sites
  • Guidelines for the operation of centralised labour quarters and workers’ accommodation

The Minister of Works was reported as saying that “‘any violation of the SOP may be subject to action under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 (Act 342) and the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia Act 1994 (Act.520)” (Edge Markets, 22 April 2020)iv

It may be reasonable to suggest that a worker who shows Covid-19 symptoms and/or tests positive within 14 days of the entry into force of these requirements may have been infected beforehand – but not when its detected more than a month later, meaning they would have been infected in the previous 14 days or less.

When infections are detected more than 14 days after 22 April, the presumption would be there was an obvious breach of the law by the employers, contractors, developers and/or their agents.

As such, the lack of reported investigations and prosecutions of these employers, contractors and developers is most disturbing. Strict enforcement and prosecution is always an important deterrent to ensure workers’ future safety.

A lack of prosecution highlights a possible breach of the 22 April promise by the works minister when he said that action would be taken if violations occur

Non-gazetted regulations, guidelines, procedures – legally unenforceable?

Without being gazetted, there arises the question of whether a breach or non-compliance of any of these regulations, standard operating procedures, and guidelines are even legally enforceable, let alone whether the violation of these standards, guidelines or regulations will result in the prosecution and effective conviction of violators.

For the construction sector, in addition to the recent standard operating procedures and guidelines, since 2018 the CIDB also has guidelines for temporary construction workers’ amenities and accommodation.

Sadly, it seems that these standard operating procedures and guidelines have not been gazetted under the CIDB Act, and this raises the question of whether employers are legally bound to obey them, and whether non-compliance would even lead to prosecution, trial and convictions.

It was reported that on 31 May 2020 itself, the CIDB inspected 110 construction sites nationwide, and found that only 21 sites were in compliance with the standard operating procedures. Three sites were given warnings only, and it was reported that enforcement action was taken against 76 (Berita Harian, 1 June 2020).

However, there was no information whether any of these law-breaking companies, directors and persons in charge were even charged in court, fined or jailed. This information is crucial for workers and public perception. A failure of prosecution may be indicative of the hypocrisy of the government.

Right to safe working environment is a human right

“Everyone has the right to life, to work… to just and favourable conditions of work… Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family…” (From the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, UN, 1948).

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which came into effect in 1976, states:“The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of just and favourable conditions of work which ensure, in particular:.. (b) Safe and healthy working conditions;…”

The International Labour Organization constitution sets forth the principle that workers must be protected from sickness, disease and injury arising from their employment.

To date, it seems like almost no employer, contractor or developer, and their directors or officers have been prosecuted for breaches of the various occupational safety and health laws, including the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, the CIDB Act and the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act 1988 during the movement control order period in response to the Covid-19 pandemic despite there being media reports of many workers being infected by Covid-19 at their workplaces and accommodation.

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While the regulations under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act have all been gazetted, which makes it most clear to everyone what they can or cannot do and makes prosecution, trial and conviction possible, these latest standard operating procedures and guidelines have not yet been gazetted. Likewise, there are many standard operating procedures, guidelines and Standards under other laws that deal with occupational safety and health that have not yet been gazetted.

It is no use if these standard operating procedures, guidelines, standards and other similar documents are mere recommendations for employers, which may mean that non-compliance will not result in the investigation, prosecution or conviction of employers, contractors, developers, their directors and managers.

There must be no choice given to employers about what they must do to ensure occupational safety and health. These obligations must be mandatory as it concerns reducing the risk of workers’ sickness, injury and death.

Therefore,

  • We call on Malaysia to disclose the list of employers, contractors, developers, directors, CEOs and other officers in charge who have been investigated, charged and convicted for violations of legal obligations to the occupational safety and health of workers during the movement control order period to combat the spread of Covid-19
  • We call for specific regulations for workplaces and workers’ accommodations to keep workers safe from Covid-19 or other infectious diseases
  • We call for the gazetting of all regulations, standards, standard operating procedures, guidelines and other similar instruments concerning occupational safety and health, making them a legal obligation, whereby a non-compliance would result in prosecution. When it is not gazetted, it may simply be a mere recommendation or advice, which employers may or may not comply with
  • We call on Malaysia to recognise Covid-19 as an occupational disease under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 and all other laws relating to workers’ occupational safety and health, which will impose obligations on employers to keep workers safe
  • We call on Malaysia to review all laws concerning occupational safety and health, which should also result in more deterrent sentences, especially when injury and death is caused by non-compliance.
  • Call on Malaysia to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, ILO Convention 167 -Safety and Health in Construction Convention, 1988, ILO Convention 155 – Occupational Safety and Health Convention 1981 and all other conventions concerning occupational safety and health

Charles Hector
Apolinar Tolentino
Irene Xavier
N Gopal Kishnam

For and on behalf of the following 56 groups:

  1. Aliran
  2. Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) Asia Pacific Region
  3. Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC)
  4. AMMPO-Sentro
  5. Association Of Home And Maquila Workers (Atrahdom), Guatemala
  6. Association of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters (HRDP), Myanmar
  7. Bangladesh Group, The Netherlands
  8. Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
  9. China Labour Bulletin
  10. Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) South East Asian Coalition
  11. Electronic Industry Employees Union Western Region Peninsula Malaysia
  12. Empower Malaysia (Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor)
  13. Foreign Spouses Support Group (FSSG)
  14. Garment and Allied Workers Union, India
  15. Global Women’s Strike
  16. IMA Research Foundation, Bangladesh
  17. International Black Women For Wages For Housework, UK
  18. Jawatankuasa Solidariti Pekerja
  19. Kesatuan Pekerja Atlas Edible Ice Sdn Bhd
  20. Electronic Industry Employees Union Southern Region Peninsular Malaysia (EIEUSRPM)/Kesatuan Sekerja Industri Elektronik Wilayah Selatan, Semenanjung Malaysia (KSIEWSSM)
  21. Kryss Network
  22. Labour Behind the Label, UK
  23. Legal Action for Women, United Kingdom
  24. Malaysians Against Death Penalty and Torture (Madpet)
  25. Malaysian Physicians for Social Responsibility
  26. Malayan Technical Services Union (MTSU)
  27. Marvi Rural Development Organization (MRDO), Pakistan
  28. Migrant Care
  29. Monitoring the Sustainability of Globalisation (MSN)
  30. National Union of Transport Equipment and Allied Industries Workers (NUTEAIW)
  31. National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam)
  32. Network of Action for Migrants in Malaysia (NAMM)
  33. North South Initiative (NSI)
  34. Odhikar, Bangladesh
  35. Onward Consulting
  36. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
  37. Persatuan Promosi Hak Asasi Manusia/Society For the Promotion of Human Rights (Proham)
  38. Persatuan Sahabat Wanita Selangor (PSWS)
  39. PKNS KPP
  40. Sabah Timber Industry Employees’ Union (STIEU)
  41. Sarawak Bank Employees Union (SBEU)
  42. Sabah Women’s Action Resource Group (Sawo)
  43. Sisters in Islam (SIS)
  44. Tenaganita
  45. Timber Employees Union of Peninsula Malaysia (TEUPM)
  46. Timber Industry Employees Union Sarawak (TIEUS)
  47. Union for Civil Liberty (UVL), Thailand
  48. Union of Domestic, Maquila, Nexas and Related Workers (Sitradom), Guatemala
  49. Union of Forestry Employees Sarawak (UFES)
  50. Workers Hub For Change (WH4C)
  51. Women Of Color Global Women’s Strike
  52. Workers Assistance Center, Inc., Philippines
  53. Workers Empowerment
  54. Yokohama Action Research
  55. Union of Employees in Construction Industry (UECI)/Kesatuan Pekerja-pekerja dalam Industri Binaan
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Gursharan Singh
Gursharan Singh
28 Jun 2020 10.32am

In the absence of EFFECTIVE ENFORCEMENT AND DETERRENT PENALTIES ON DELINQUINTS 
ALL PROCEDURES-LAWS-PROMISES/STATEMENTS BY LEADERS MAY CONTINUE TO BE JUST SLOGANS AND OF COSMETIC VALUE.

I have been emphasising for decades the above during my audit service days and later via my comments/articles/training sessions but the CULTURE OF REWARDS TO DELINQUINTS IN THE NAME OF BEING PERIHATIN MAY HAVE RESULTED IN THE ABOVE SITUATION.

COULD THIS BE DUE TO FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLES OF LEADERS WHICH MAY HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED BY OTHERS?

It is also the responsibility of the the people to take appropriate safety measures and not to wait to be disciplined by authorities as it is their own life at risk and that of their families.

BE SAFE BLESS ALL