Thousands rally on Labour Day, demand better rights

About 1,500 workers from various sectors marched to Dataran Merdeka demanding better workers’ rights in conjunction with Labour Day.

The crowd marched from Menara Maybank in Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur for 30 minutes.

About 60 rights groups supported the rally including PSM, Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC), Women’s Aid Association and Borneo Komrad.

The attendees had eight demands for the government:

1. Implement a RM2,000 “cost of living” salary instead of the minimal wage and abolish the workers’ contract system.

2. Healthcare rights to all government hospital staff.

3. Stop any forced evictions without providing alternatives.

4. Give equal rights and stop the exploitation of migrant workers.

5. Control grocery prices.

6. Repeal laws that violate basic rights such as gender discrimination.

7. Stop privatising basic amenities such as water, electricity, public transport, and education.

8. Recognise Orang Asli’s ancestral land.

Calls for fairer distribution

During a press conference, PSM chairperson Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj emphasised the need for equal distribution among all workers.

He highlighted that despite the country’s gross domestic product increasing 24 times over the past 50 years, workers’ salaries have only seen a 1.3-fold increase.

“The country’s prosperity is the result of our collective efforts. Yet, the benefits have been disproportionately low.

“We advocate for fairer distribution and improved land management,” he stated.

Roziah Hashim, a cleaner at Taiping Hospital, shared her perspective, advocating for the abolition of the contract system in favour of permanent positions.

Despite nearly 16 years of service, she earns only RM1,500 a month, with her highest monthly earnings reaching RM1,800 through overtime.

“Cleaners nationwide seek permanent positions and fairer wages,” she expressed.

Asu Uda, who travelled from Kampung Kelait, Gua Musang, Kelantan, demanded recognition of Orang Asli’s ancestral lands.

“The Orang Asli have inhabited this land for generations. It’s time their rights and ancestral lands are acknowledged!” he urged.

The rally concluded at 12.30pm.


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