KUALA LUMPUR – A group of sixty former employees of Paycomm Network Sdn. Bhd. were at the Human Resource Ministry in Damansara, Kuala Lumpur, here, today, to seek a meeting with the minister for solutions in resolving their grievances which include unpaid back wages running into several millions.
Twenty of them were permitted in to the office to meet the Human Resource Minister, Subramaniam and the group was accompanied by labour activist Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj.
In the 90-minutes meeting, Minister Subramaniam later told the twenty one members delegation that he will need to find out whether Paycomm Network Sdn. Bhd. is still a GLC and if it still is, then he will discuss with the Finance Ministry and the Treasury to effect the backpay arrears, said Abdul Malek Kamaruddin, a spokesperson for the aggrieved group.
R Rajen, 48, a former regional manager of Payccom Network Sdn. Bhd. told Malaysiakini Citizen Journalists that he had been working for the company since 1994 when it was then owned by another company.
He lamented and said, after his employment was terminated, it affected his family badly and his daughter was forced to give up her law school midway, because he is the sole breadwinner.
Another former employee, Saiful Zamrud Bahaudin, 49, said his termination had left him heavily in debt because he took a loan back in 2001 to take advantage of the company’s employee share option scheme (ESOS).
Meanwhile, labour activist Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, said. he was pleased with the outcome of the meeting.
However, he commented that it is necessary for the federal government to establish a retrenchment fund to help workers who are victims of companies that have failed to pay workers wages.
It is good that the minister is willing to go beyond the law to assist the workers, said Dr. Jeyakumar.
Currently, he said, the law doesn’t really protect the workers in such cases and the government should set up a retrenchment fund where cases of companies who failed to pay wages, the fund can kick in to pay the workers.
Adding, he said, the law currently only allows the government to take the company to court and there are 41 cases where the total in arrears amounted to RM1.6 million which the companies concerned can’t pay.
Reiterating on his standpoint, he said, when you win the court case, you only win a piece of paper and that is why the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) is asking for the setting up of a retrenchment fund. said Dr. Jeyakumar, who is also the MP for Sungai Siput and PSM central committee member.
The 549 former Paycomm Network workers were abruptly terminated in late 2010 on ground that the company was no longer able to source business from Telekom Malaysia.
Fung Lee Jean and Ong Mui Keow, Citizen Journalists.
Photography with courtesy of Seng Hean Khaw