INTERESTING employment news seems to be shunted to the dark recesses of Malaysia’s dailies. For this month’s column, I found a little nugget entitled “Cabinet approves union for employees in electronic sector”, reported at the end of May. Now, workers in the electronics sector can form unions in their respective regions.
What came to my mind was why does the cabinet need to “approve” the formation of a trade union? Article 10(1)(c) of the Federal Constitution states: “All citizens have the right to form associations.”
Checking more thoroughly, it came to light that this right may be eroded if Parliament deems it “necessary or expedient in the interest of the security of the Federation or any part thereof, public order or morality.” Article 10(3) of the Federal Constitution makes it even clearer that associations related to labour and education are specifically subject to Parliament’s scrutiny.