110th International Labour Conference – EU Statement in the Committee on Application of Standards: Malaysia

(Source: EEAS)

110th session of the International Labour Conference

(27 May – 11 June 2022)

Committee on Application of Standards


Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949 (No. 98)


I have the honour speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.

They Candidate Countries Albania and Montenegro, the EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, align themselves with this statement.

  1. The EU and its Member States are committed to the promotion, protection, respect and fulfilment of human rights, including labour rights such as the right to organise and collective bargaining.
  2. We actively promote the universal ratification and implementation of fundamental international labour standards, including Convention 98 on the Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining. We support the ILO in its indispensable role to develop, promote and supervise the application of ratified international labour standards and of fundamental Conventions in particular.
  3. The EU and Malaysia have a close relationship, including through our cooperation in trade and economic issues complemented by our strategic partnership with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
  4. While taking account of the information provided by the Government, we note with great concern the apparent tolerance shown by the Government with respect to allegations of anti-union discrimination, employer interference and violations of the right to collective bargaining in a number of enterprises. We echo the Committee’s call for the Government to take the necessary measures to address all of the above allegations, including through rapid investigation and ordering of effective remedies for the victims and sufficiently dissuasive sanctions on the perpetrators. We look forward to detailed information in this regard.
  5. We welcome the Government’s engagement with the ILO Office on the legislative reforms of the main labour laws, including by enacting the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Act (IRA) with effect from January 2021 and by revising the Employment Act and the Trade Union Act. We see this cooperation as vital in achieving full conformity of these laws with Convention 98, also in practice.
  6. We reiterate the Committee’s request to the Government to provide detailed information on IRA’s amendments and their implementation, also in order to ensure that workers who are victims of anti-union discrimination can lodge a complaint directly before the courts for the imposition of sufficiently dissuasive sanctions, including the expeditious provision of adequate compensation. It is also important ensuring effective protection without placing on victims a burden of proof that could impose obstacles with regard to the establishment of liability and provision of adequate remedies.
  7. Similarly, with regard to IRA provisions on criteria, procedure and duration of proceedings on trade union recognition for purposes of collective bargaining, we call on the Government to ensure, in consultation with the social partners, that the recognition process as a whole provides adequate safeguards to prevent acts of employer interference. We also reiterate the Committee’s call on the Government to ensure the full inclusion of migrant workers in collective bargaining.
  8. We would also welcome more detailed information on the practical implications of the IRA’s amendments on the scope of collective bargaining, compulsory arbitration and restrictions on collective bargaining in the public sector, as well as any additional measures undertaken to promote the full development and utilization of collective bargaining under the Convention.
  9. The EU and its Member States will continue to follow and analyse the situation and remain committed to our close cooperation and partnership with Malaysia.

Thank you Chair

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