KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Human Resources Minister M Saravanan said on Friday (Aug 19) that there will soon be an announcement on reducing the number of weekly working hours from 48 to 45.
He was quoted as saying by the Star: “Please be patient for another week. I’ll make a special announcement.”
“There are a number of things to be announced in terms of working hours, days off, the ministry’s role and enforcement agencies and others,” he told reporters.
The minister was commenting on a report by Sin Chew Daily on Friday that the enforcement of shorter working hours in Malaysia could be deferred.
The report, citing a source, said that the minister had promised not to implement the new ruling on Sep 1, during a recent meeting with industry representatives.
Last week, the minister reportedly told the Upper House that the number of weekly working hours will be reduced from Sep 1.
According to the New Straits Times, this is after amendments were made to the Employment Act 1955, which aims to safeguard the welfare of workers. The amendments are in line with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention.
The amendments would also allow employees to work flexible hours. They would be able to choose the location, time and days of work.
This would include flexibility to work from home during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, said the New Straits Times report.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has reportedly urged the government to delay the Sep 1 implementation of shorter weekly working hours.
MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said in a statement on Wednesday that economic growth in the second half of this year is expected to slow to between 5 per cent and 6 per cent, compared with 8.9 per cent reported in the second quarter.
“Employers should be given time to reconsolidate and recover their businesses which were severely impacted due to the movement control orders implemented in 2020 and 2021 to contain the menace of COVID-19,” said Mr Syed Hussain.