US Continues to Frustrate Subramaniam’s 11 Years Unlawfully Dismissal Case

*PRESS STATEMENT PARTI SOSIALIS MALAYSIA – 27HB.MEI, 2019*

*US CONTINUES TO FRUSTRATE SUBRAMANIAM’S 11 YEARS UNLAWFULLY DISMISSAL CASE*

On Friday(24 may 2019), after 11 years, the case of Subramaniam Letchimanan finally appeared in the Industrial Relations Court at Jalan Tun Razak. The case was referred by the Human Resource Minister; M.Kulasegaran in accordance with Section 20(3) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967.

The case was mentioned in front of Yang Arif Tuan Gulam Muhiaddeen. The Embassy was represented by Amerdeep Singh while Subramaniam was represented by Ms. Ching from Messrs Kesavan.

At the court on Friday, the Embassy’s counsel submitted Note 341 dated May 16,2019 to the court saying that the Notice by the Industrial Court as well as the Service to the Embassy is defective. The Embassy argued that under Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the notice cannot be served directly to the Embassy but must be served through diplomatic channels and must be given a time frame of 60 days for them to response. The Embassy also claims that the notice must be directed to the Unites States Government and not the Embassy. Based on these two reasons, they consider the service as defective and the US will not file a response or appear at the hearing, and will not recognise the validity of any judgement that might be rendered.

The Industrial Court Chairperson has instructed Subramaniam to respond to these objections raised by 17 June 2019.

This goes to show the arrogance and the extend the US Government will go to fight a dismissal case against a Guard where they have grossly violated every basic Labour ethics and due process like giving warning, holding Domestic Inquiry etc. In this case, they dismissed the employee without any notice, without any explanation, without any show-cause letter and without any Domestic Inquiry. Now they irony is they go to court to say that the IRD did not serve them a proper notice etc.

Prior to this, when a meeting was held on 23 January 2014 at Wisma Putra, the Embassy said that all their documents has been send to Washington and that they couldn’t proceed. We then provided them with some relevant documents because we had an impression that the US Embassy will give us a decent hearing since this worker has worked for them for 20 years. They then finally met us on 17 October 2014 just to say they have followed all procedure and their sacking was proper. It seems that their intention is not to find an amicable solution but to keep frustrating this process.

It looks to us now that the US is making all this very complicated to avoid a hearing in the court. PSM hopes the Human Resource Minister will not buckle under pressure and will stand firm with the decision. The case may look like a simple dismissal case but it has some great consequences. The case will decide if workers working in the Embassy will get any protection under our law and secondly, it will put the whole question of sovereignty of a nation under question if we cannot summon a Foreign Government for exploiting our worker in our soil.

In a landmark case in 2016, the High Court ruled that Embassies, High Commissions are not above Malaysian laws. It ruled than that the Australian High Commission is not protected under the Vienna Convention 1966 act as the law only apply to “diplomatic agents” such as the person of the High Commissioner himself. The court also did not accept the argument that the Australian High commission is protected under the International organisation (privileges and Immunities) act 1992.

So the 11 years saga continues for now

S.Arutchelvan
PSM Central Committee

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