Bankers’ union calls on Anwar to suspend ‘reckless’ minister

Bankers’ union calls on Anwar to suspend ‘reckless’ minister

The country’s largest bank employees’ union has called for the suspension of Human Resources Minister Steven Sim in light of damning audit reports on the HRD Corporation, which is under his responsibility.

The National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) said it was not the first time Sim had “miserably failed in his duties”, adding that the minister had shown a lack of integrity in his handling of the controversy over holiday bonuses for his employees.

“Based on our experience with him, we can predict with some certainty that the HR Minister will be part of the problem, not part of the solution, in the unfolding HRD Corp debacle,” the union said in a statement.

Sims’ “mishandling” of Christmas aid was said to have affected 60,000 workers and their families.

“Given the contemptuous, reckless and ignorant manner in which NUBE has handled the issue of bank management, it is no surprise to NUBE that the Minister of Human Resources has, is and will likely continue to complicate and exacerbate the HRD Corp scandal through his involvement,” it added.

In April, NUBE filed a police complaint against Sim, who is also the DAP MP for Bukit Mertajam, accusing him of marginalising workers in favour of their employers.

Sim was said to have bypassed NUBE and negotiated with the Malayan Commercial Banks’ Association (MCBA) over a one-month Christmas allowance promised to workers.

The union signed an agreement with the MCBA last year that provides for the payment of one month’s salary as holiday allowance by the banks. This agreement is to be reviewed by both parties this year.

However, NUBE stated that the minister had worked with the MCBA and managed to get the banks to pay only half a month’s salary, even though the union had not yet negotiated with the banks.

Sim was said to have hastily referred the agreement to the employment tribunal, claiming that no resolution had been reached.

“How can the minister describe a negotiation that has not even started as deadlocked?”

NUBE said it had the necessary experience to mediate and resolve such issues in a reasonable manner and in accordance with due process, but Sim had committed a “botch” by derailing the negotiation process.

It said that there was suspicion that Sim had conspired with employers to “undermine the rights and livelihoods of bank employees.” 60,000 bank employees and their families were harmed by this action.

NUBE said Putrajaya could not ignore the suffering of the affected families of the B40 and M40 workers.

“In line with our beliefs, we would like to formally call on Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to suspend Steven Sim Chee Keong due to his poor performance in the discharge of his duties,” it said.

“We may be the first labor organization to call for Sims’ suspension today, but we firmly believe we will not be the last in the future.”

The reports of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Auditor-General (AG) revealed that HRDC had spent the collected levies on risky investments in the stock market.

It was also revealed that HRDC spent money on lavish events in five-star hotels and trips abroad.