The Way Employee Union Are Organized in Malaysia

INTRODUCTION In the eye of history, Malaysian industrial relations undergo some valuable changes with the expanding European capitalism through Industrial Revolution from the early sixteenth century.Various parts of what is now Malaysia came under British rule some time during the nineteenth century.Then, the emergence of Malaysian industrial relations is also associated with immigrant laborers and British colonialism.

Basically, industrial relations is known as relationship between employee, labour or employment. Industrial relations is not related to the relationships between one industry to another at all.

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And industrial relations in the public sector yet is referring to the relationship between the government and the public sector’s employees. The employer referred to in the public sector is the government which the employee will be under the power of them. As far as Malaysian industrial relations is concerned, the term public sector refers to the public services and to statutory authorities. Therefore, the term “public sector” refer to the federal and state government services, and to the federal and state statutory and local authorities.

This government has been divided into few levels which is federal government (Ministry of Human Resource), federal statutory authorities (MARA), state statutory authorities ( Jabatan Agama Islam Johor) and also the local authorities (Majlis Daerah Segamat Selatan). We can see the differences between the public sector and those in private sector. The public sector has their own uniqueness which can be seen in few perpectives regarding to the principles underlying the systems, the parties involved, the way employees’ unions are organised, the way employees are grouped and also the machineries cater for industrial relations in the public sector.

First of all, the public sector seems to be unique because of the principles underlying in industrial relations. The principles underlying in both public and private sectors are different at all. In Sec 52 of IRA stated that Parts 2, 3, 4 and 6 shall not apply to any public sectors since these parts are only been applied to the private sector. The principles involved are the trade unionism, recognition, collective bargaining and dispute settlements respectively. The trade union basically is an association or combination whether for employers and the employees too. The trade union is playing oles for protect the rights of workers by doing the collective bargaining to the employers. Before that, that particular trade union have to be recognized first to ensure that the collective bargaining may be successfully been achieved. The IRA requires that the union be recognized by the employer as the proper representative of those employees; in other words: the Act makes union recognition a necessary prerequisite to collective bargaining. Besides, regarding the collective bargaining, it is the principal means of improving the terms and conditions of employment of employees and thereby promoting their economic welfare.

In contrast, all of these things are not applied to those public sector. And the largest employer in the public sector is represented by the federal government. Even the public sector has no collective bargaining and so on those the employer, employees and their trade unions also the government will sit together. This is based on the tripartite system which has been applied to this country. This tripartite system are made up of three parties which are the employer, employee and the government.

There will be discussions made between them to resolve any disputes that arise among them This means the decision does not made by unilaterally; by the management on behalf of the employer without any interference by workers and the other parties. Next, the most unique characteristic that can be seen in Malaysian industrial relation system is the party involvement in the system. As we can see, Malaysia has allocated two areas in the employment sector, which is the public sector and private sector. It is important to differentiate between these two sectors.

What is mean by the public sector actually? Public sector here refers to the Public Services as well as to Statutory Authorities. Statutory Authority in the other hand means a body established, appointed or constituted by any written law, whether federal or state, including a local authority. Thus, public sector is the largest sector in which the government acts as the employer of all civil servants. In addition, trade unions in the public sector are permitted to organize unions per ministry, department, profession or activity, as well as to join federations.

Employees in statutory bodies (such as ports and the Employees’ Provident Fund) are only authorized to join internal trade unions, which, in turn, may join the Civil Service Federation and the national trade union centre. Employees working for the defense sector, police force or prisons do not have the right to form or join trade unions. Then, there is no employer union in public sector as the federal, state governments and local authorities are said to act as the employer. Therefore, the government doesn’t need to form any union to represent themselves.

Other than public sector, Malaysian also allocated the other areas for the servant whom is not in public sector which named private sector. This private sector servant usually involved the workers whom are working under their own employers. One of the biggest examples of jobs in this sector is from the banking sector. On the top of that, these private sectors have a little immunity that allowed the employers and the employees to form their union as the medium to protect their right. In fact, the union was also established to facilitate consultation and discussion for both sides.

This is also help to communicate and understand each other well and ensure a conducive working environment as well as to avoid problem occurs. Moreover, the advantage of private sector unions is that they can carry out collective bargaining to voice their demands. The third uniqueness characteristic of public sector industrial relations in Malaysia is the ways employees are organized. What means here is the particular trade union must be representing of themselves only and not representing of the others.

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For example, regarding on the blue collar union and white collar union.

Those in blue collar union can only represent for the blue collar union and those in white collar union can only represent for the white collar union . And the most important thing here is the employee unions in the public sector are organizing along ministry or department or occupation or statutory authority lines or local authority lines. It is because they want to determine the shape and nature of the public goods and services, which the members deliver so that workers and the communities they serve can see that the union is relevant to the needs of a changing world.

It is good for the interests of all workers and the people who use their services and has a vision of the future, which ensures the centrality of unions in that future. The employees cannot join the trade union and also be an executive in another trade union. According to Oxford Dictionary, the term ministry is a government department headed by a minister. This means that a minister will heads every ministry. As in Malaysia we are headed by our respectful Prime Minister Y. A. B. DATO’ SRI MOHD.

NAJIB BIN TUN HAJI ABDUL RAZAK which he is also the minister in Ministry of Finance. Besides, Our Deputy Prime Minister Y. A. B. TAN SRI DATO’ HAJI MUHYIDDIN BIN MOHD. YASSIN also is the minister in Ministry in Education. Examples of Ministry in Malaysia are Ministry of Human Recourse, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Defense etc. Basically we have 24 of ministry after the last reshuffle in 2009. The employee unions in the public sector are organizing by ministry because they have different services to be served for the public.

For example, The Ministry of Health’s role is basically to lay the policy and the direction of health services in the country also to enforce regulations and be the regulator. The Ministry of Health does not have the same service to the other ministries like the Ministry of Higher Education. Thus, employees in the Ministry of Health cannot join the trade union of the Ministry of Higher Education. The employee unions in the public sector are also organizing by department. Every ministry will have their own departments.

For example in Ministry of Defence, they have development department, administration department, policy department, national service department etc. Each department been leaded by different persons. They might be in the same ministry but they have different tasks and responsibilities to carry out but still have to communicate to each other even they are not in the same department. However, if they want to form a trade union, they must form according to their department because of their different works Next is they are organizing by occupation.

If they are in the same department that does not mean that, they have the same job. For example, in Ministry of Health, they have medical department and in medical department, they have another small department, which are the development of medical department, the practise of medical department, the allied health science department, the telehealth department and the nursing department. The practise of medical department, which are the doctors, and the nursing department, which are the nurses, cannot forming the same trade union.

The doctors will form their own trade union and cannot join the nurses’ trade union and vice versa. They are also organizing by statutory authority. According to Trade Union Act “statutory authority” means any authority or body established, appointed or constituted by any written law, and includes any local authority. Example of statutory authority is ATTORNEY-GENERAL’S CHAMBERS, CENTRAL BANK OF MALAYSIA, FEDERAL LAND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (FELDA), NATIONAL PRODUCTIVITY CORPORATION (NPC), TELEKOM MALAYSIA BERHAD etc. They must form their own trade union and cannot join another statutory authority trade union.

For example, TELEKOM MALAYSIA BERHAD workers cannot join FEDERAL LAND DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (FELDA) trade union because they have completely different work and an employee of a statutory authority can only join and been accepted as a member by a trade union whose membership is confined exclusively to employees of that particular statutory authority. They are also organizing by local authority. A local authority is an organization that is officially responsible for all the public services and facilities in a particular area.

An employee of a local authority can only join or been accepted as a member by a trade union whose membership is confined exclusively to employees of one or more local authorities. There are four types of local government in this country who are prepared according to the hierarchy is The city also known as City Hall or the City Council, City also known as the Municipal Council, Rural areas also known as the District Council, Special area also known as the Corporation or Local Authority. Example workers in City (Municipal Council) cannot join trade union in Special area.

The Fourth uniqueness characteristic of public sector industrial relations in Malaysia is the ways employees are grouped. The employees in the public sector may group themselves in union or in associations and still enjoy any of the benefits of union representation. This mean that the public workers can get any benefits of union representation even the public workers not joining the union. For the example, a teacher will get the salary increases in that year as decided by the government although the teacher is not a member of National Union of the Teaching Profession in Malaysia (NUTP).

All the bargaining are discussed at the national level between the government with Congress of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (CUEPACS). Since the government is the employer of the public workers all of the decision is depends on the government budget. In contrast, in private sector, those who are not joining the trade union, thus will not get any benefits given to that particular trade union. For example, any benefits given to the Petronas Employers Union will not be given to any employers of Petronas who are not joining the trade union.

Here we can see the advantages if those in the private sector are joining in the trade union since they will know their interest towards their job. They will know what their rights should get from the employers and the company itself, they can bargain more such as for the wages and also better working conditions. It is good for them to know their rights as well since they can make sure that their employer does not suppress their workers’ rights.

But in the same time, there will be some disadvantages to be in the private sector rather than those in public sector since the public workers may get the benefits whether ther are or they are not joining the trade union. Finally, finally yet importantly, the uniqueness of industrial relations in Malaysian public sector is the machineries that cater for industrial relation in public sector. In fact, these machineries in the public sector is unique and has no equivalent in the private sector. Thus, the following are the list of the machineries which are the first one is Salaries Commission and Salaries Committees.

Then, it is followed by The Public Service Department, the Public Service Tribunal and last but not least, The Joint Councils. All these machineries have their roles in order to ensure the systematic structured in the public sector. Salaries Commission and Salaries Committees are appointed by the federal government and are necessary for the review of salaries and related conditions and these series of ad hoc commissions was kept on established since 1960s. The establishment of this commission is needed as they are also review working conditions and workers work as a whole or part of the public sector.

Other than that, they are also assigned to make recommendations on those matters. In 1992 for example, the Special Committee of the Cabinet on Salaries makes the recommendations for the public sector and was known as New Remuneration Scheme and it has been renewed with the name Malaysian Remuneration Scheme in year 2002. Under this system, the employees got numbers of benefits such as paternity leave was introduced. . Thus, the reports from these two commissions will then be submitted to government and it is up to the government side, whether to accept or reject it.

In fact, there is no legal obligation on the government to appoint such commissions or committees periodically, not to accept the recommendations made by them. If these recommendations submitted by them are not accepted by the government, then their recommendation will not be implemented. However, if these reports are being accepted by the government, then the recommendations will be implemented by the Public Service Department, which is also one of the important federal agencies in Malaysia. ****

Next, move on the discussion on the matter of the Public Service Department (PSD) which is led by the Director General of Public Service. The PSD is organized along division lines in which there are eight divisions altogether as following divisions. The first one is recruitment division, and being followed by service division, training and career development division, wages and allowances division, pension division, negotiations division, The National Institute of Public Administration (Institut Tadbiran Awam Negara-INTAN) and finally the administration division.

Each of this division has their own roles and function as for example the Service Division that formulates and implements personnel policies in the public services. These policies in addition cover such areas as the recruitment, confirmation, dismissal and re-employed of public service employees. Thus, this division also conducts all public service examinations, and it maintains the Government Staff Records Centre. Back to the main point, the Public Sector Department also acted as the human resources of the federal government and taking care only for the servant in the public sector.

Besides, as being said above, the main function of PSD is to put into action on the accepted recommendations by the Salaries Commissions and Salaries Committee and thus, they are also responsible for all the implementation in the public sector includes supervise the National Joint Councils. Other than that, it is also functioned to negotiate any anomaly arising from the implementation of these recommendations with any public sector employees who is affected by it or with any organization of public sector employees whose members are affected by it.

In short, the Public Service Department is responsible in initiating and also administrating personnel policies in all departments in which covered the public services employees too, from their recruitment until their retirement. ***** The Joint Councils (JCs) is machinery that is being modified from the Whitley Council machinery of the United Kingdom which was established in 1953. The Joint Councils is divided by two level which are the National Joint Councils and the Departmental Joint Councils. The National Joint Councils aim is to provide a body to establish communication through discussion between employers concerned and the government.

It also constitute three councils which are one council for those in the Managerial and Professional Group and the other two councils are for employees in the Support Group. This councils are not available for Polices Forces, Armed Forces, Senior Managerial roup and public servants where the New Remuneration System (Sistem Saraan Baru-SSB) and Malaysian Remuneration System (Sistem Saraan Malaysia-SSM) does not apply. In the other side, the Department Joint Councils as well have it aim and functioned. This council provides a machinery to address any questions regarding work conditions and also obtain the views from the employees.

It is also served for consultation between representatives of the ministry or department or statutory authority or local authority apprehensive and representatives of that ministry. ***** Finally, last but not least, the machinery that being use as a cater in the public sector is The Public Service Tribunal. The Public Service Tribunal was established in 1977 and it is to settle any dispute in regards to anomalies in the implementation of the recommendations by various Salaries Commission and Salaries Committees in which usually covered the issues regarding salaries and condition of service.

Instead of that, any anomalies that come out will first referred to the Public Service Department (PSD). Once the Public Service Department rejected the claim, then the appeal can be made to the tribunal. The tribunal consists of a chairman and a panel of persons who have experiences and knowledge in matters of administration and was appointed by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong. However, this tribunal is being abolished in the year 2000 because the new approaches has already taken over and the new system will have a wider appeal.

CONCLUSION As the conclusion, based on few perspectives that we have seen in comparing between both in public sector and private sector, the public sector seems to have their own uniqueness rather than the private sector. They are unique regarding to what has been applied to them regarding to the principles underlying the systems, the parties involved, the way employees’ unions are organised, the way employees are grouped and also the machineries cater for industrial relations in the public sector.

Since the public sector have only one centered employer which is the government, thus the management of the public sector seems to be well-managed and well-organised rather than those in private sector which they have so many employers with different way of organizing their company at all. On the other hand, people works in the public sector also somehow get benefits than those working in private sector when everyone get the same things whether they are joining the trade union or not. REFERENCES )Wu Min Aun, (1982) Industrial Relations Law of Malaysia, page xviii, Heinemann Educational Books (LTD) 2)Dunston Ayadurai ,(2004) Industrial Relation in Malaysia Law and Practice, Third Edition 3)Maimunah Aminuddin,(1949), Malaysian Industrial Relations & Employment Law, Sixth Edition, page 6, Malaysia, MC GRAW HILL EDUCATION. 4)http://mgv. mim. edu. my/MMR/9004/900405. Htm retrieved june12,2011 5)http://survey07. ituc-csi. org/getcountry. php? IDCountry=MYS=EN 6) Zanko,M, (2002) ,The handbook of human resource management policies and practices in Asia-Pacific economies, United Kingdom, Edward Elgar Publishing. )Mumtaj Hasan, Harlida Abdul Wahab, (2003), Undang-Undang Pekerja Untuk Pengurus, Pahang, Malaysia, PTS Publication & Distributors Sdn. Bhd. 8)http://www. worldpsi. org/TemplateEn. cfm? Section=PSI_publications=2126=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay. cfm 9)http://www. pmo. gov. my/? menu=cabinet=1797 10)http://www. mod. gov. my/ 11)2006-2007), The constitutional role of the Attorney General, Great Britain, Parliament: House of Commons: Constitutional Affairs Committee 12)http://www. moh. gov. my/ 13)http://www. malaysia-food-beverage. com/government. htm 14)http://mgv. mim. du. my/MMR/9004/900405. Htm 15)http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Local_government_in_Malaysia 16)Parenti, M, (2010), Democracy for the Few, Singapore, Cengage Learning. 17) 1920), National Lumberman, Commercial Journal Co. 18) http://www. unioncimb. org. my/home/news/TheFutureoftheTUMovementinMsia-CIMBConferenceArticle. pdf 19)http://mgv. mim. edu. my/MMR/9004/900405. Htm 20)Bowling, A. , (1981), Delegation in General Practice, United Kingdom, Routledge 21)(1989), Trade Union Act 1959 and Regulations Details on Trade Union Act 1959, Amendment with Index and Cases, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, MDC Sdn. Bhd.

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