Oral Answer by Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for Manpower, on discrimination against PWDs
NOTICE PAPER NO. 1283 OF 2018 FOR THE SITTING ON OR AFTER
7 AUGUST 2018
QUESTION NO. 2148 FOR ORAL ANSWER
MP: Ms Rahayu Mahzam
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) from 2012 to date, what is the number of complaints received regarding job discrimination faced by people with disabilities; (b) whether the Ministry has received feedback from individuals or organisations on job discrimination faced by people with disabilities during this period; (c) what are the main examples of discrimination; and (d) whether the Ministry will study the need for an anti-discrimination law to protect such persons.
- MOM takes a serious view of workplace discrimination, and this includes unfair employment practices against persons with disabilities. We expect all employers to abide by the principles of fair and merit-based employment practices outlined in the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices (TGFEP).
In the past five years, the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (or TAFEP) received about 1,600 complaints on workplace issues, of which, four complaints were allegations of discrimination against persons with disabilities. Upon investigation, TAFEP found no evidence of discrimination, but that the main reason for such complaints was due to poor communication and lack of sensitivity when working with persons with disabilities. All the four cases were closed after TAFEP provided advice to the employers to improve their employment practices.
We urge all individuals who feel that they have been discriminated against to approach TAFEP for advice and assistance. MOM will not hesitate to take actions against offending companies and curtail their work pass privileges.
There is no conclusive evidence that anti-discrimination laws necessarily improve employability of persons with disabilities. In fact, such laws may have the unintended consequence of deterring employers from hiring them in the first instance. This may happen when employers are fearful that workers cannot be dismissed even with legitimate reasons or that their actions would be misconstrued as being unlawful.
- The key to addressing discrimination is to change mindsets, and the effective tools for achieving this goes beyond legislation. For example, MOM supports employers through the Open Door Programme and Special Employment Credit scheme to improve employment outcomes for persons with disabilities. TAFEP also promotes fair and inclusive employment practices, and contribute to better employment outcomes for persons with disabilities.