Some of the attendees read out the Labour Day pledge during the Labour Day celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre. Pic by SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: The five “special gifts” for workers unveiled at the 2018 Labour Day celebration are not political gimmicks, but achievable goals, says Cuepacs.

Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda said he is confident that the pledges will become a reality when the people give the Barisan Nasional government their mandate in the 14th General Election.

He said the pledge to raise the minimum wage was the one that would excite Malaysia’s workforce the most.

“The contributions of workers have allowed this country to thrive and achieve strong rankings in many aspects,” he said.

Azih also noted that the government had taken the initiative to place more emphasis on the private sector this time around to improve their livelihood.

Congress of Union of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Azih Muda says the pledge to raise the minimum wage is the one that will excite Malaysia’s workforce the most. Pic by MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

He said Najib’s announcement of enabling a three-day paternity leave for men could signal the start of more good things to come for the public sector.

Meanwhile, Social Security Organisation (Socso) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed, thanked the prime minister and the government for trusting Socso to execute the Employment Insurance System (EIS).

“The government has allocated about RM120 million to make interim EIS payments from January 1 this year, although the full payment of EIS can only be done on January 1 next year.”

The additional RM60 million allocation announced by the prime minister to raise the payment from RM600 to RM1,000 for the first month, RM800 for the second month and RM600 for the third month, he said, would help ease the burden of workers who had been laid off due to downsizing and closure of companies, among others.

He said the first batch of workers comprising 10 people had benefited from the higher EIS interim payout on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak delivers his speech during the Labour Day celebration at the Putra World Trade Centre. Pic by SAIRIEN NAFIS

One of them was Suhaimi Abu Bakar, 42, who lost his job when the company that he worked in for four years had to downsize its operations recently.

“The (interim) payment will go a long way towards cushioning the financial impact on my family while I am looking

for a new job,” said Suhaimi, who has two school-going children.

Meanwhile, MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor said Najib was the only prime minister who not only listens to workers issues, but also acted on them.

“We have been fighting for the minimum wage since 1998. The Najib administration has not only made it happen, but would also review the minimum wage every two years as stipulated by the (relevant) law.” --Report By AZURA ABAS, LUQMAN ARIF ABDUL KARIM, ESTHER LANDAU, SITI AZILA ALIAS and ARFA YUNUS

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