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Industrial Relation Act, 1967 (Malaysia)

Industrial Relation Act, 1967 (Malaysia)

What is the Industrial Relations Act 1967?

Came into effect on 7 August 1967, the Industrial Relations act is one of the major laws governing employment relationships in Malaysia which contains, among others, the provision on representation on unfair dismissal, claim for recognition by a trade union, and collective bargaining.

The Act aims to promote and maintain industrial harmony and provide the regulation of the relations between employers and workmen and their trade unions. It also provides the prevention and settlement of any difference or disputes arising from their relationship and generally to deal with trade disputes and matters related to it.

What are the purposes of the Industrial Relations Act 1967?

1. To maintain a good relationship and fair dealing between employers, workmen, and trade union

The IRA provides for mechanism related to the recognition of a trade union. It manages collective bargaining and collective agreements between the trade union of the employers and workmen.

The IRA also provides for conciliation procedures in trade disputes and the settlement of any such differences or disputes through the Industrial Court.

Trade disputes may be developed into other forms such as strikes, lock-outs, picketing, and intimidation, all of which are described under the IRA together with the regulated measures to handle such cases.

2. To provide specific remedies that are not available in common law or the Employment Act 1955

A distinct example of such specific remedy is the remedy of job ‘reinstatement’ which makes up most of the claims in Industrial Court. For example, under section 20(1) of the IRA, an employer cannot dismiss an employee without ‘just cause or excuse’, be it directly or indirectly.

3. To provide for private-sector employees

Under section 52 of the Act, the provisions in the IRA ‘… shall not apply to any Government service or any service of any statutory authority or any workman employed by Government or by any statutory authority.’

This means that any claims to the Industrial Court under the IRA by the Federal Government or the State Government’s servant; or any individual working with the statutory authority, being an authority or body established, appointed or constituted by any written law, and includes any local authority, are bound to be struck by the Industrial Courts as seen in many precedents.

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