Monday, 11 June 2007

A Great Memorable Day for Workers – The Labour Day

MAY DAY CELEBRATION 2007 COMMITTEE
C/O SUARA RAKYAT MALAYSIA (JOHOR BAHRU BRANCH)
Address: 8A, JLN RONGGENG 11, TMN SKUDAI BARU, 81300 SKUDAI, JOHOR
Telephone: (607)5581098 Fax: (607)5581098 HP: 012-7209981
Email: sahabatrakyat.my@gmail.com Web: www.suaram.net

Press Statement: 26 April 2007

The 2007 May Day Organizing Committee would like to invite all working men and women from Johor Bahru and southern Johor area to attend a peaceful assembly on the coming 1st May.

The program will start from 10am, at Dataran Bandaraya Johor Bahru. It is not only to celebrate the eight-hour workday that our predecessors had fought for, but also to defend the basic rights that belong to all. The Labour Day Organizing Committee is a non-partisan group consisting of non-government organizations and political parties from the southern region of Johor that are concerned about the well-being of the workers and democracy. The Committee will demonstrate the very tradition and spirit of the Labour Day in Johor Bahru this year.

Since 1994, we have been upholding the tradition and spirit of the Labour Day dated back to 1st of May 1886 by way of holding major assemblies of the working class to put forward their demands. The workers in the United States of America at the time worked for 14-16 hours a day, some even up to 18 hours while merely earning low wages. On 1st of May 1886, workers from the U.S.A. and Canada staged a major strike to force the capitalists to implement the eight-hour workday standard. Despite endless attacks and suppressions from the capitalists and the government, the workers’ perseverance in the struggle eventually won them the eight-hour workday.

The Labour Day is to commemorate the working class of the past who made efforts to fight for basic rights, such as eight-hour workday which had been deprived by the capitalists. This serves to inspire the present and future working men and women to carry on with the spirit and to better the achievement of the predecessors. This is the true tradition and spirit of the Labour Day.

Half a century after we achieved Independence, the well-being of the people should be the priority and the rights of the people should be respected. However, the basic rights of the working class are still being jeopardised. Urban pioneers/settlers, being the low-income group in the urban area, are deprived of the fundamental right of adequate housing, as illustrated in the recent Kg Berembang case where houses were callously demolished. Factory workers are forced to work over-time while the right to unionize is being suppressed by the employers. Prevalent sexual harassment and gender discrimination in work places ceaselessly threaten female workers. Plights of foreign labour being cheated and bullied are widely reported. Privatization policies to be implemented will no doubt further deteriorate the living condition of workers. Hence, May Day Organizing Committee 2007 has made “50 Years of Independence, Workers Remain Enslaved” as the theme of the Labour Day celebration this year.

Presently, the employers make use of the Labour Day vacation to organize carnival-like activities for their employees, in the hope that the workers will eventually forget about the traditional spirit of the day. The capitalists will coerce workers into longer working hours in the name of increasing productivity, thereby causing physical exhaustion and mental depression among workers.

1st of May in the year 1994 was a historic day for workers in Malaysia. More than 3000 people, consisting mostly of estate workers and urban settlers, held a large-scale demonstration at the Merdeka Square. Main organizers of the event included CDC (Central Development Committee), JSPB (Committee of Urban Pioneers Support) and Alaigal (meaning in Tamil – “continuous struggle”), who have been involving themselves in the struggle for equal rights of the oppressed and marginalized groups in our society.

Since then, the celebration has been successfully held on May Day every year. The theme of celebration of each year is shown below:

1994 – Estate Workers and Urban Settlers Are Entitled to Housing Rights; Abolish Forced Eviction
1995 – Estate Community Should Be Included in the Rural Development Plan
1996 – For “Monthly Wage Campaign”
1997 – People Want Justice – Wage, House/Land and Inflation
1998 – Economic Crisis: Employer Are Protected, Workers Are Oppressed
1999 – Malaysian Workers Want Genuine Change
2000 – Workers Want Minimum Wage Act
2001 – A Just Development for All
2002 – Return Us Workers’ Rights: Wage, Job and Union
2003 – Capitalists’ War, Workers in Destitute
2004 – Workers for Genuine Democracy
2005 – Globalization Jeopardizes Workers’ Rights; Stop Privatization of Water and Hospital
2006 – Stop the Privatization of Water Supply and Healthcare Service
2007 – 50 years of Independence, Workers Remain Enslaved

Although the theme of the celebration differs each year, we have been consistent in our principal position, that is, to express the aspirations of workers and to demand for workers’ rights regardless of social circumstances.

The world history of the Labour Day shows that workers’ rights, including the freedom of assembly, were obtained by persistent and unrelenting struggles. Prior to 2003, the Labour Day celebration was carried out without police permit. However, the police took the initiative to grant the celebration an assembly permit in 2003. This shows that the police could have granted the assembly permit without our own application. After years of effort, we have successfully overcome numerous obstacles, including the repression by the authority. There is now new democratic practice of allowing the annual celebration of workers’ day without any permit.

2007 May Day Organising Committee,

Salleh 016-7524355
Nazman 013-7437472
MoonHui 012-7209981

0 comments:

通告 Notification

人民之友对下届大选意见书
英巫文译稿将在此陆续贴出

作为坚守“独立自主”和“与民同在”的立场的一个民间组织,人民之友在上个月对即将来临的第14届全国大选投票,发表了一篇以华文书写的意见书,题为:投票支持"反对国家伊斯兰化的候选人": 反对巫统霸权统治!莫让马哈迪帮派"复辟"!。

这篇意见书的英文译稿,将在近期内在本部落格贴出。马来文译稿将在下个月内贴出。敬请关注!

我们希望,我们在意见书内所表达的对下届大选的立场和观点,能够准确而又广泛地传播到我国各民族、各阶层的人民群众中接受考验,并接受各党派在这次全国大选斗争和今后实践的检验。


The English and Malay renditions of Sahabat Rakyat’s opinions about next election will be published here consecutively

As an NGO which upholds “independent and autonomous” position and "always be with the people" principle, Sahabat Rakyat had released a Chinese-written statement of views with regard to the voting in the upcoming 14th General Election, entitled “Vote for candidates who are against State Islamisation: Oppose UMNO hegemonic rule! Prevent the return to power of Mahathir’s faction!”

The English rendition of this statement will be published in our blog in the near future whereas the Malay rendition will be published next month (November). Please stay tuned!

We hope that our position and views pertaining to the next General Election expressed in the statement will be accurately and widely disseminated and also examined by the popular masses of various ethnicities and social strata through their involvement in the struggle of the next General Election carried out by various political parties and their practices in all fields in future.


Akan datang: Penerbitan penterjemahan pendapat Sahabat Rakyat mengenai pilihan raya ke-14 dalam Bahasa Inggeris dan Bahasa Melayu

Sebagai sebuah pertubuhan masyarakat yang berpendirian teguh tentang prinsip "bebas dan berautonomi" dan “sentiasa berdampingan dengan rakyat jelata”, Sahabat Rakyat telah menerbitkan kenyataan tentang pandangan kami terhadap Pilihan Raya Umum ke-14 yang akan datang yang bertajuk "Undilah calon yang menentang Pengislaman Negera: Menentang pemerintahan hegemoni UMNO! Jangan benarkan puak Mahathir kembali memerintah! "

Penterjemahan Bahasa Inggeris kenyataan tersebut akan diterbitkan dalam blog kita dalam waktu terdekat manakala penterjemahan Bahasa Melayu akan diterbitkan pada bulan hadapan.

Kami berharap pendirian dan pandangan kami berkenaan pilihan raya kali ini yang dinyatakan dalam kenyataan tersebut dapat disebarkan dengan tepat dan meluas untuk diuji dalam kalangan rakyat semua bangsa semua strata sosial melalui penglibatan mereka dalam amalan pelbagai parti politik dalam pertempuran pilihan raya umum kali ini mahupun masa depan.

Malaysia Time (GMT+8)