Unionists call for investigation into Zoo Negara management

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PETALING JAYA: Two unionists have called for an investigation into Zoo Negara, alleging non-compliance with their collective bargaining agreement and the unfair dismissal of the in-house union president.

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This comes after two former veterinarians, S Vellayan and Reza Singam, said a revamp of leadership was needed and urged the government to take over operation of the zoo.

They also claimed they knew of instances of mismanagement during their tenure, which Malaysian Zoological Society deputy president Rosly @ Rahmat Ahmat Lana categorically denied.

A Sivananthan, general counsel member of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress and adviser to the Zoo Negara in-house workers union, told FMT: “I’m calling upon the government to take a serious view of this, to form an independent committee to look into every aspect of the zoo.

“The workers need to be taken care of if the animals are to be cared for, and they are not taken care of very well.”

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He said Zoo Negara had yet to comply with an award handed down in 2019 by the Industrial Court granting workers a 5% annual increment and two months’ minimum bonus, among other benefits.

“I have filed for non-compliance over the award,” he said, adding that there would be a mention of the case tomorrow to fix a hearing date.

Maran Rengasamy, president of the in-house workers union, said he had a pending case regarding his alleged wrongful termination in August.

In July, the Industrial Court found that Zoo Negara had been party to “union busting” in a case regarding a work transfer that Maran had objected to, with the court deciding Maran should be returned to his original post. A month later, he was let go.

Maran hoped the government would look into the zoo management’s treatment of workers.

FMT has reached out to Zoo Negara for comment. – FMT

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