Publication Details

Parasuraman, B. & Schwimbersky, S. (2005). The present scenario of Malaysian industrial relations : accommodating or conflictual. International Society for Labour and Social Security Law: 8th Asian Regional Congress Proceedings (pp. 295-312). Taipei, Taiwan: Association of Industrial Relations.


Malaysian industrial relations (IR) were commented by both foreign and local researchers in the literature (Bahari, 1989, Arudsothy, 1990, Arudsothy and Littler, 1993, Jomo and Todd, 1994, Kuruvilla, 1996, Bhopal and Todd, 2000, Ramasamy, 2000, Todd and Peetz, 2001, Ayadurai, Yahaya and Zainuddin, 2002, Bhopal and Rowley, 2002, Suhanah, 2002, Mellahi and Wood, 2004, Parasuraman, 2004, Todd, Lansbury and Davis, 2004). Many of them commonly agreed that the role of the state on industrial relations policies is rather repressive to the union and favour employers. Therefore, in this paper the author will use Sharma’s (1996) theoretical model on the extent of industrialisation and patterns of IR (1996:26) to analyse the emerging pattern of IR in Malaysia. The paper argues that currently the pattern of IR in Malaysia is rather conflictual than concession accommodating even though Malaysia is already in the advanced level of a semi-industrialised country and is to be considered as newly industrialised country (NICs) such as Taiwan, Singapore, and Korea very soon. Regarding labour policies, it strikes that some labour laws that have their origin in colonial and the post-colonial governments are applied up to the present day. This paper is divided into four parts. In the first part the theoretical model of Sharma on the extent of industrialisation and the patterns of IR will be presented. Second, the economic development of Malaysia will be highlighted briefly. Third, the issues on economic development and IR policies in Malaysia are discussed. Fourth, Malaysian IR policies are examined on the basis of Sharma’s model, which was explained in Section One. The paper will conclude with the emerging pattern of IR in Malaysia.

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Asian Regional Congress