MALAYSIA: Thousands march for May Day

May 10, 2006

On May 1, some 2000 workers took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur to celebrate May Day under the theme "Workers against privatisation of water and hospitals". Representing factory workers, V. Nathan told the rally that while fuel prices had increased several times in recent months, workers' wages and bonuses had remained the same. "Some factories even used the fuel price hike to justify their decision to terminate the workers' annual increment", he said. According to the Malaysian Socialist Party's S. Arutchelvan, who was a member of the May Day organising committee, politicians were not invited to speak at the march because "Labour Day is the time when the politicians have to listen to what the workers have to say". A declaration endorsed by 72 organisations was read en masse by the crowd, making several demands including around the minimum wage, union rights and the rights of migrant workers. Despite a heavy police presence, the march was peaceful.

From Green Left Weekly, May 10, 2006.
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