KUCHING, Sept 2 — The state Cabinet has already approved the draft amendments to Sarawak Labour Ordinance, which incorporates the recent amendments to the Employment Act and applicable provisions of the law on minimum housing standards for workers, Datuk Gerawat Gala said today.
The deputy minister in the Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) told Malay Mail that the amendments include increased maternity leave from 60 to 98 days, new provision for paternity leave of seven days, reduction of weekly working hours from 48 to 45 hours, and new provisions against sexual harassment.
He said the amendments have been discussed and agreed with the federal Human Resources Ministry.
“However part of the amendment relating to Sarawak’s autonomy over our labour laws has yet to be resolved with the Human Resources Ministry and federal attorney general,” Gerawak said.
“Once this is resolved the amendments can be tabled in Parliament for approval for it to be enforced,” the Mulu state lawmaker said.
Gerawat reiterated that the Sarawak government has the interest of both workers and employers at heart.
“We need to have a harmonious labour relations to develop and grow our economy as set out in the State’s economic blue print — the Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030.”
“Let there be no doubt that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government wants the amendment to the Sarawak Labour Ordinance (SLO) tabled in Parliament as early as possible without having to compromise on our autonomy over our labour laws,” he said.
He was commenting on Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen’s statement yesterday that the state government is blocking the tabling of the amendments.
He said Chong's statement was completely misconceived and misleading.
He said the state government has been working very hard to get the amendments in place through numerous stakeholder engagements involving both employee and employer representatives, industry organisations, relevant ministries and agencies to get their input and support for the amendments.
In his statement yesterday, Chong, who is also Stampin MP, had alleged that the GPS government should stop blocking and delaying the implementation of the new labour law which provides for better rights for employees in Sarawak.
He said in Peninsular Malaysia, with the 2022 Amendment to the Employment Act 1955, employees are better protected and have better rights and benefits under the law.