Forgotten Frontliners Demand Equal Treatment From Malaysian Government
They ask to be treated fairly and recognized as frontliners.
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A group calling themselves the “forgotten frontliners” are demanding equal treatment from the government and be recognised for their essential service during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Jaringan Pekerja Kontrak Kerajaan (JPKK), a coalition of contract labourers working as support staff, cleaners, gardeners and security guards at public institutions urged the government to absorb them directly into public service and put an end to the current system of hiring them through third party companies.
The group said that the contract system was exploitive and deprived them of their rights and benefits. They claim that employers were not only illegally cutting their salaries but also stealing their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) contributions, besides cutting corners and ignoring Covid-19 guidelines.
JPKK also pointed out that because they are not considered as frontline workers during the pandemic, none of them are entitled to receive hazard pay or aid provided by the government.
If doctors are frontliners, the armed forces are frontliners, police are frontliners, RELA are frontliners, (but) the staff who clean hospital wards where Covid-19 patients are being treated are not considered frontliners. Is this logical?Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan (PHSK) Communications Officer V. Selvam via Facebook.
If you’d like to know more about their cause, check out JPKK’s online petition, HERE.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought into focus how blue-collar workers in Malaysia are being grossly mistreated.
In June, a group of cleaners who protested for their rights by organising a peaceful demonstration outside a hospital in Ipoh were arrested and sent to jail.
READ MORE: Makcik Hospital Cleaner Tearfully Asks “Why Can’t People Like Us Get A Raise?”
More recently, the government also revealed concerns regarding Covid-19 outbreaks among the deplorable living conditions provided by employers to foreign workers.
READ MORE: More Than 90% Of Foreign Workers in Malaysia Live In Squalid Conditions
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