No plans to amend Employment Act, deputy minister says amid concerns of discrimination

Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar says the government will not include amendments in the Employment Act 1955 as a means to protect job seekers from discrimination. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar says the government will not include amendments in the Employment Act 1955 as a means to protect job seekers from discrimination. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 16 ― Putrajaya will not include amendments in the Employment Act 1955 as a means to protect job seekers from discrimination, a deputy minister said today.

In his reply to Permatang Pauh MP (PH) Nurul Izzah Anwar during Question Time, Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar said this includes pregnant women and that the law under the Employment Act only comes into play after the hiring process.

“The coverage of Act 265 only arises when the relationship between a job and employer begins. The ministry is currently reviewing employment laws specifically those related to discrimination in the workplace which will be included in the proposed amendments to the Employment Act.

“The proposals include the definition of discrimination based on gender, religion, race, disability, marital status, pregnancy and language and discrimination involving the terms and conditions in an employment contract,” he said.

“But for now, the ministry has no plans to include protection for job seekers in the amendments of the Employment Act,” Mahfuz told the Lower House, despite plans to extend maternity leave from then current 60 days to 90 days from 2021 in Budget 2020.

However, the deputy minister said that the ministry welcomes any complaints to be lodged so that the government can take action against the employers ― including stepping in for negotiations and advising the employers against such practices.

“If there are any complaints to the ministry, we will conduct negotiations and give advice to employers, so that they will not do such unreasonable things,” he said.

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