Thursday, May 1, 2008

May 1st: International labour day - Malaysian PM urges workers to be more innovative

May 1st : International labour day
May 1st is international labour day, a day which commemorates a time of civil unrest in the late 19th century when workers in industrialized countries demonstrated for improved working conditions, wage raises and an eight hour working day. Many of the demonstrations were suppressed with force. The rights that demonstrators fought for at that time are featured in the preamble to the original ILO Constitution and are still current today. -- ILO

Agence France-Presse - 5/1/2008 4:43 AM GMT
Malaysian PM urges workers to be more innovative
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi urged workers to be more innovative and creative to ensure the country remains competitive, in a statement marking May Day on Thursday.
Abdullah said Malaysia could no longer rely on its cheap labour to attract investors and should focus instead on creating a better quality and educated workforce in the face of increasing regional competition.
"In the era of a knowledge-based economy, the ability to generate, spread and apply knowledge is crucial to determine the nation's productivity and competitiveness," he said in the statement.
"Malaysia can no longer depend on cheap labour costs. Skills and knowledge have become an important prerequisite in increasing one's wages in today's economy," he said.
Abdullah also urged workers to be more dedicated and hardworking to attain Malaysia's goals of a prosperous, resilient and competitive economy.
The economy is going through a transition phase as it seeks to shift from a low-wage model to a high-wage, knowledge-based economy.
Malaysia is one of Asia's largest importers of cheap foreign labour and has about 2.3 million workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and elsewhere to clean homes, construct buildings and gather crops.
The government has said it plans to cut its reliance on foreign labour to create more job opportunities for unemployed local people. -- AFP via MSN Malaysia News

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