Minister will no longer screen Industrial Court cases, says Kulasegaran

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran speaks during a press conference at Wisma HRDF in Kuala Lumpur June 5, 2018. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran speaks during a press conference at Wisma HRDF in Kuala Lumpur June 5, 2018. ― Picture by Firdaus Latif

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PUTRAJAYA, June 5 — The power of the minister in terms of reference and screening before a case is brought to the Industrial Court will be cancelled, to enable the settlement of the case between the employer and the employee to be accelerated.

Minister of Human Resources M. Kulasegaran said so far there were about 1,300 outstanding cases requiring referrals and ministerial decisions to be brought to the Industrial Court.

“What makes it complicated... for example, a worker is dismissed and he refers this to the Industrial Relations Department where the employer will be called for a settlement. If there is no settlement, the case will be referred to the minister and the minister will decide whether it is to be brought to the Industrial Court or not.

“I (the minister) become a filtering process. I do not think that’s necessary. If anyone wants to refer to the Industrial Court he must go straight (to court) not to refer to the minister,” he told Bernama in an exclusive interview here.

He said he would bring the proposal for the cancellation of the minister’s power to a Cabinet meeting in the near future before tabling it in parliament.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran said he had instructed the ministry’s officers and staff to complete the 1,300 outstanding cases within 31 days from Thursday (31 May).

“I give 31 days to settle the cases which we have here (ministry). Go ahead if they need to work at night, on Saturday or Sunday. If necessary, I too will work overtime. The important thing is to complete the outstanding cases within 31 days,” he said.

He said most of the outstanding cases involved local workers forced to quit by their employers.

In the meantime, Kulasegaran, who has over 30 years’ experience as lawyer, said his ministry was looking for the best mechanism to reduce the cost of legal fees in the Industrial Court and the Labour Court.

“As a lawyer who handles many cases in the Labour Court and Industrial Court, I find that there are situations where the legal fees exceed the amounts claimed in court.

“For example, there is a Labour Court’s case claiming only RM2,000 but the legal fee is over RM2,000. So we will find a way how we can reduce the legal fees, “he said. — Bernama

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