Name: Nurshahafiqah Asli
Book: Perjuangan Kaum Pekerja Ladang Asahan
Author: Teo Cheng Hai, Wong Tao Lam (Translator)
A really insightful book to read about an often forgotten aspect of Malaysia’s history: the labourers. This book focuses on the plight of rubber estate labourers on the Bukit Asahan rubber estate in the 1960s who struggled for basic rights that many take for granted today such as SOCSO, health insurance, incentives, and proper dismissal procedures. The workers resorted to strikes and riots, and many were jailed under the ISA for these violations. In the end, though, through negotiations and discussions, the association for rubber estate labourers, UMEWU, managed to arrive at a compromise with their employer. With intervention from the government led by Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman, a committee consisting of representatives from the workers, employer, and the Department of Labour, was formed and a written agreement was made to protect the rights of the workers. This book includes images as well as profiles of the labour leaders. It also touched on the fragile unity that the country had at the time of Independence.
I personally think that this book is worth reading, as it highlights the harsh life of rubber estate workers in the ‘60s and how these workers had to fight for their rights.
– Nurshahafiqah Asli, Executive, Building & Administration.
“Pondok teduhan untuk pekerja-pekerja yang menyertai tindakan berpiket telah didirikan dan pondok tersebut dikelilingi oleh poster dan kain-kain panjang yang tertulis slogan:
‘Bapa kena pecat, kami lapar perut!’
‘Membantah keras pembuangan pekerja dan wakil pekerja tanpa alasan munasabah.’
‘Hidup perpaduan kelas buruh!”