In Malaysia, only 780,000 or 7% of the entire workforce of more than 10 million are unionised as of 2006.
Of course, workers divided are easier to exploit, and our UMNO-led BN government is a 'pro-business' government, and not really a pro-worker government, and as such this government really will not encourage workers to form unions....in fact, it makes it difficult.
Workers in a union fights for their rights. Employer terminates some of these workers, and guess what the Malaysian Trade Union law says that they, who are no longer
I wish to highlight the point made by Syed Shahir, the current president of the Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) that only 780,000 or 7 per cent of the entire work force of more than 10 million are unionised as of 2006. Several reasons explain this low rate of participation in unions.
First, repression of the working class ever since the Emergency and Independence. Apart from the coercive Trades Union Act, the Industrial Relations Act, the Employment Act, other repressive laws like the ISA exist which circumscribe the autonomy and effectiveness of the trade unions. Much writing is available on these matters. Suffice it to stress that it is on account of such coercive laws and repression of unionists that a majority of workers are fearful of getting involved in unions and unionism these days.
Second, the problem of leadership of the trade unions. It is also documented that union leaders, especially during the past two decades, have been riddled with factionalism, financial scandals, and patronage and let’s not forget, patriarchal attitudes too. These two considerations – repression on the one hand, poor leadership of the TUs on the other - have often been mentioned to explain Malaysia’s low rate of unionism. - ALIRAN, 18/11/2009, Malaysia at the crossroads [Francis Loh's review of book by Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj