'No compromise,' says Sim, slamming Pas MP who questioned rationale of Kedah Agro unpaid salaries probe

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will not compromise with any employer should there be any misconduct in the late payment of salaries.

Human Resources Minister Steven Sim said the ministry remains firm in its stance that employees have the right to receive their salaries on time, and will fully enforce the Employment Act 1955 for any misconduct.

Answering a question in the Dewan Rakyat about an investigation into Kedah Agro Holdings Bhd (KAHB) for late salary payments, he said a report was lodged with the Labour Department in January and the probed was launched based on this.

"I do not care even if the issue started in 2017. The ministry's stance is to resolve the problem and this is why we have given KAHB time (to pay compensation towards the employees)," he said during the minister's question time.

Sim said this in response to a supplementary question from Afnan Hamimi Taib Azamudden (PN-Alor Star) who questioned the rationale behind the investigation.

Afnan had said the issue was an 'old' one that was reported in the 2017 Auditor General's Report.

Sim questioned Afnan on the lack of action taken by Pas, which has led the state administration for two terms.

"Your party has become the (state) government for two terms now. I think our responsibility now is not to dwell on past stories but to resolve the issue of outstanding salaries. Let's not mistreat the employees.

"Hence, I hope that you feel the same and urge the state government to resolve (the issue) quickly before Hari Raya as it is now Ramadan and they (the employees) are preparing for the festive season."

At the same time, Sim added that KAHB will settle current and outstanding salaries worth RM560,000 before Hari Raya.

He said following a meeting with KAHB, the board has also decided that it will cease operations by the end of March 2024.

"Therefore, termination benefits and notice pay will be paid within three months of March."

Previously, Sim had announced that the department had issued a notice to KAHB to promptly resolve the outstanding salaries for employees.

It was found that KAHB, a subsidiary of Kedah Menteri Besar Incorporated (MBI) had not paid its employees' salaries since last September, which a violation of Section 19 of the Employment Act 1955.

It is understood that KAHB's operations have been problematic since 2016 and have continued to the present, causing Kedah MBI to bear the costs of its subsidiary's operations, including paying its employees' salaries.

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