MAPPING THE HARD LAW/SOFT LAW TERRAIN: LABOR RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: In Defense of Soft Law and Public-Private Initiatives: A Means to an End? -- The Malaysian Case Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 2011 Theoretical Inquiries in Law 
Theoretical Inquiries in Law

MAPPING THE HARD LAW/SOFT LAW TERRAIN: LABOR RIGHTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION: In Defense of Soft Law and Public-Private Initiatives: A Means to an End? -- The Malaysian Case

July, 2011

Theoretical Inquiries In Law

12 Theoretical Inq. L. 465

Author

Vanitha Sundra-Karean *

Excerpt

INTRODUCTION
 
Malaysian industrial relations grew out of a climate of political compromise among ethnic groups in Malaysia for the sharing of political power. Therefore the legal and political culture that influenced the evolution of Malaysian politics has also molded formal industrial relations at the national level. A stark feature of the Malaysian industrial relations system is the tripartite relationship that forms the bedrock of labor law in the country. The members of this tripartite partnership model are the Malaysian Trade Union Congress, 1 the state 2 and the Malaysian Employers' Federation. 3 Laws and policies on labor are debated at this tripartite forum, with corporate power having the strongest lobby. 4 This comes as no surprise, given that since independence in 1957, Malaysia has relied heavily on foreign investment and affirmative action policies for the economic, corporate and social upliftment of the Malay Muslim majority race. 5

The state's "Look East" policy of the 1980s, which was introduced by the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, in an effort to lure foreign investment through the promise of compliant in-house unions along the Japanese model, decreased the number of national trade unions in Malaysia and caused an increase in in-house unions. This was facilitated by the state, as it controls the registration, authorization and recognition of trade unions. 6 In any event, only about nine percent of the private workforce is unionized. Furthermore, Malaysian unions do not enjoy any political power or political platform, as the law expressly prohibits ...
 
 
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