PM Najib Razak center.

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the government was committed to modernising Malaysian labour laws, in line with the needs of a high-income economy.

In his Labour Day message posted on his Facebook page, Najib said the government was currently reviewing the Industrial Relations Act 1967 in an effort to allow more efficient resolutions for unfair dismissals and trade disputes.

It was also to ensure effective enforcement of Industrial Court awards; and balance business needs and employees’ rights through conciliation.

“The Employment Act 1955 is also under review to ensure the law is in line with emerging needs of local and foreign employers, as well as with the needs of an industrialising nation’s workforce.

“Any amendment to the law is aimed at spurring productivity and efficiency, increasing income levels and protecting employees to support local, regional and global competitiveness,” said Najib.

Wishing a Happy Labour Day to all workers, the prime minister said the government was committed to improving the nation’s workplace for all Malaysians, regardless of rank, status, race and political standing.

He said, historically, Labour Day was a day to commemorate the economic and social achievements of workers, notably the establishment of eight-hour work days and in the past, labour laws were substandard and workers in the 1800s started coming together to push for fairer treatment in the workplace.

As Malaysia transitions from a middle-income economy to a high-income one, Najib said the nation needed the co-operation of all workers from every sector in the economy as the workforce was the backbone of the economy.

“Now is the time for our workers, economy and nation to be united in the effort to achieve a developed nation status by 2020,” he noted.

Najib, who is also finance minister, said since the country celebrated the 2013 Labour Day, the unemployment rate of Malaysia had further improved to an all-time low of 3.2 per cent and was still one of the lowest in the world.

“Today, our workers have attained fair pay, decent working hours, safe working conditions and the dignity of a secure retirement,” he added. — BERNAMA