With the election upcoming on 19 November 2022, employers who do not comply may be prosecuted and fined RM5,000 or face a year in prison if convicted.
Malaysia's Ministry of Human Resources has affirmed that employers are not allowed to impose any penalties or deduct the wages of employees who do not attend work due to voting in the upcoming 15th General Election (GE15).
As cited in Berita Harian and shared by the ministry, Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri M Saravanan has said employers who do not comply with the provisions under Subsection 25(1) of the Election Offenses Act 1954 (Act 5) can be prosecuted and fined RM5,000 or a year in prison if convicted.
The full provision reads as follows:
25. Employers to allow employees reasonable period for voting.
(1) Every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the payor other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.
Minister Saravanan stated: "The Ministry urges all employers in the private sector to allow employees to fulfill their responsibilities as voters in accordance with the provision under Subsection 25(1) of Act 5."
Elaborating further, employers are to discuss with employees the option of giving 'time-off', alternate release days, or annual leave for that purpose. Time off can be given to employees voting in nearby areas, while those who take time to go to their respective polling centres may take alternate leave or annual leave that must be given by the employer.
Previously, the Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (CUEPACS) proposed that the government declare a special holiday on 18 November. Datuk Adnan Mat, President of CUEPACS, explained that this is due to the many individuals whose voting may not be at their workplace, with some having to travel more than four hours to fulfill their responsibility to vote.
The 19th of November 2022 has been set as the voting day for GE15.
In similar news, the Prime Minister's Office has affirmed that there will be steps taken on voting day to ensure the voting process will run safely and to reduce the risk of infection of voters as well as officers at polling centres.
1. Wearing a face mask
- Voters who are COVID-19 positive are required to wear a mask.
- Mask-wearing is also highly recommended for other voters.
2. Going to and from the polling station
- Voters who have tested positive with COVID-19 are not allowed to commute on public transport, including via Grab.
- Voters who have tested positive with COVID-19 should not make any stops elsewhere before and after voting.
- Voters who have tested positive with COVID-19 should go home immediately after voting.
3. Use of hand sanitiser
- Hands are to be sanitised with hand sanitiser at places where all voters are identified
- Voters are recommended to bring a hand sanitiser
4. Safe distancing
- Voters who have tested positive with COVID-19 must adhere to safe distancing.
- Safe distancing for other voters is strongly encouraged.
Health officers will be deployed at the polling stations to ensure a smooth voting process for COVID-19 positive voters.
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