The protest also took place in multiple locations across the country.
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As Labour Day came and went on 1st May, celebrating workers around the world, the plight of Malaysian workers became the highlight at the “Carry the Weight” silent protest at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, Kuala Lumpur.
A protester stood on the sidewalk of the busy shopping area with a pair of weights, balanced on a stick on their backs (like food vendors in olden days). The weights were filled with items symbolising the various economic burdens borne by workers.
Onlookers were invited to ‘Carry the weight’ to relieve the burden of the protester.
The event was organised by almost 100 organisations including Persatuan Pengguna Islam Malaysia (PPIM), Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), Aliran Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN), All Women’s Action Society and Misi Solidariti.
They said the protest was to show Malaysians and the government the financial burdens faced by the workers of Malaysia, especially of the working class in factories, domestic workers, estate workers, and e-hailing and delivery riders/drivers who are “the victims of a corrupt system, poor fiscal planning and the collapsing economy due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.”
The government does not seem to care about the fate of the workers and this action is symbolic of the burdens we bear with our diminishing salaries and buying power in this crippled economy, as the government wastes away our money without parliamentary scrutiny and refuses to meet or dialogue with us on our struggles.“Carry The Weight” Silent Protest organisers.
As such the protest is a call to the government to take the necessary actions, based on the demands of the workers in the May Day Declaration 2021.
May Day Declaration 2021 for Malaysian workers
The 1 May 2021 declaration puts forth 15 demands for the welfare of Malaysian workers, which are:
- The government must establish an Employment Guarantee Scheme
- Cancel the proclamation of Emergency and restore Parliament
- Healthcare right for all
- Guarantee the rights of migrant workers and stop arrests of migrants and refugees
- Trade union rights
- Stop discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation and HIV status. Guarantee the rights of women workers & the rights of children
- Orang Asli rights
- Implement the People’s Housing Scheme at an affordable price, strategic location and convenience. And a moratorium on ejecting tenants during Covid-19 pandemic.
- The right to farm and food guarantee
- Control the price of goods
- Guarantee freedom of the media and repeal the anti-false news ordinance, POCA, POTA, SOSMA and the Sedition Act (1948)
- Student rights
- Stop the privatization of basic services
- Distribution of wealth and special taxes on MNCs
- Declare Climate Emergency
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