UK TOLD – STRIKES NOT THE SILVER BULLET IN ADDRESSING DISPUTES IN THE WORK PLACE!

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‘To dear friend, UK Premier, Theresa May, I ask this Christmas of discontent – whether going forward, strikes will continue to be part and parcel of the UK landscape or, will we see a more patriotic, caring, intelligent, humane and accordingly to current times and age approach, of settling disputes without causing economic and social turmoil, financial loss, anger, anxiety and hurt among the largely innocent populace by strikes?” Dr Jacob George

APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST & LAWYER DR JACOB GEORGE – STRIKES NOT THE SILVER BULLET IN ADDRESSING DISPUTES IN THE WORK PLACE!

Travel alert

Strikes in wherever, are becoming more and more common and this affects not only the sitting government credibility, local economy but, businesses, employees and consumers alike.

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It is a pity that despite advancements made in labor laws, on mitigation, open door policies between employers and employees, collaboration, from the 60s, we still have a portion of those in a time warp, calling for strikes and crippling and victimizing innocents who actually keep these service sectors afloat!

As far as I am concerned, these are self-servers, economic and social terrorists, who threaten not only the hands that feed them, but the population that finances the said industry!

They forget that there is a better way in addressing these issues rather than using the strike as a threat and blackmail tool!

Have we forgotten that employment relationships between employer and employee the world over today is in a better footing than during the 30s to 60s!

And strikes when pushed through, creates collateral damage in working relationships, as the unilateral decision to call for strikes could become strained and this could affect teamwork and profitability.

We cannot deny that due to these actions, businesses suffer production and financial losses and consumer confidence is adversely affected.

Whether a strike is legal or Illegal, the business is affected and it is imperative for employers to know their rights and to keep up to date with current labor laws and legislation.

At critical services sectors, I have always encouraged that businesses opt to hire workers to replace the striking employees and perhaps increase shifts if the strike continues for a long period of time.

It is very important that these part time/temporary workers have a contract by law.

And I strongly also put it that the employer does not have to remunerate striking workers for days not worked.

And if the strike is illegal this could constitute as a fair dismissal.
However, striking employees that belong to a union are under obligation to strike when the union determines.

But in all fairness, they could be at risk of losing not only wages but benefits such as medical aid insurance, sick and holiday pay if the strike drags on for an extended period of time.

If an employee is a union member and does not want to partake in the strike, he/she could be at risk of intimidated by members of the union.

This is where the government needs to intervene and help workers who do not want to strike!

Members belonging to a union in a legal strike are generally protected from dismissal but it is also time that governments initiate legislation to make strikes, a remnant of communism illegal!

It is a sheer pity that those advocating strikes without adequate consultation, mitigation, interaction, analyzing its effects on a nation are fast increasing in number even in this age and time!

The effects of striking will be felt in the immediate and long term future as strikes are appearing to re-occur in some sectors and in some cases have become violent or have possibility of turning violent if those being affect take the law into their own hands out of sheer anger, frustration and anxiety!

The last time I checked, the UK economy is vulnerable at this point in time, post Brexit and this striking season could harm the country’s investment reputation and image further internationally.

I am not alone here as my colleagues who are economists, agree that the effect of strikes on the economy are difficult to calculate but, is detrimental to the country, the innocent consumers and its workers.

We canny deny that the GDP growth will be affected and the consequences of higher wages in certain sectors would inevitably lead to higher inflation.

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As I write this blog piece sitting in my family home in the UK, I am told to expect further strikes on the 23 December from over calculated and heartless, 4000 over British Airways staff, the Postal Service and with the ongoing strike by the Southern Railway, this Christmas will become a nightmare for locals and international travelers!

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It is a pity, that we do not have a leader like the late Singapore Prime Minister, Uncle Lee Kuan Yew, whom I loved and admired all my life, especially while being trained at law school in the UK!

I remember his warnings to the then striking Singapore Airlines union that immediately forced a turnabout in their thinking and all went then well!

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To dear friend, UK Premier, Theresa May, I ask this Christmas of discontent – whether going forward, strikes will continue to be part and parcel of the UK landscape or, will we see a more patriotic, caring, intelligent, humane and accordingly to current times and age approach, of settling disputes without causing economic and social turmoil, financial loss, anger, anxiety and hurt among the largely innocent populace by strikes?

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A BRITISH TRAINED HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER LOOKS AT THE SOUTHERN RAIL STRIKE!

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A BRITISH TRAINED HUMAN RIGHTS  LAWYER LOOKS AT THE SOUTHERN RAIL STRIKE!

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My children and I are among more than 300,000 thousand of rail passengers facing travel chaos,12 days before Christmas because of strikes in an escalating dispute over the role of conductors?

Conductors – Seriously?

Silly, outrageous, unthinkable – call it what you may, but this is the UK today?

Outrageously slow, illuminating in themselves and unprepared in this age and time and the narrative of the coming years, and challengers, where time is of the essence not cowardice with no one having the courage to take or make decisions for rail commuters – the real consumers!

So why has an apparently minor operational issue been allowed to drag on for months?

Is it a proxy battle where the victims are again commuters read consumers!

I believe that this is a deeply political dispute that has implications for the country!

And both the Government and unions know full well, but are not prepared to acknowledge.

This is not purely an issue on safety or of redundancy is it?

I believe this is a real major proxy war about control and modernization, being fought out in the commuter belt with the latter the present victims!

On one hand, the Government regards the railway as the last bastion of 20th-century trade unionism, and – to the enduring pain of a third of a million commuters – sees Southern as the battleground for rationalizing one of Europe’s most inefficient railways?

Or do senior politicians, corporate predators and shenanigans believe that improved productivity must be forced through despite the human and economic cost and loss?

In the meantime, anger mounts with around 300,000 passengers using Southern services each day affected , many of whom are commuting into London for work, so widespread disruption is expected.

As this drama unfolds some are playing musical chairs with so called Grey routes, Blue routes, Yellow routes and Red routes?

So the next pertinent question what are the politicians doing?

Anything sensible and real time speed decisions like changing rules to stop disruptive strikes taken and on halting the awarding a monopoly to business networks or calling in the army and national reserves to run the trains to protect consumer interest?

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MALAYSIAN APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – CUTTING TRAVEL TIME BETWEEN SINGAPORE & MALAYSIA – ANOTHER GREAT MOVE BY PREMIER NAJIB!

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“Most time I envy where Pak Jib gets his stamina and vision despite the concerted efforts by political shenanigans to bring him down both in the country and in the global arena!

It has to be accepted, this is the difference between a political novice, political shenanigans and one well groomed, trained and visionary leader, in the person of Premier Najib, who till today has not failed those who support him to lead us to greater heights as a nation!

Thank you Pak Jib!”

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MALAYSIAN APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – CUTTING TRAVEL TIME BETWEEN SINGAPORE & MALAYSIA – ANOTHER GREAT MOVE BY PREMIER NAJIB!

Premier Najib Tun Razak should be commended for initiating and seeing to fruit this high speed rail venture by our two countries!

This is classic and visionary Najib who continues to plan to take the nation forward in a strategic and visionary manner to spearhead trade, economic boom and further planned and executed development of our nation!

The 350km high-speed rail line, first mooted in 2013, is billed as a “game changer” for both countries.

The mega project will shave travel time by land between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur to 90 minutes, compared with more than four hours by car.

Most time I envy where he gets his stamina and vision despite the concerted efforts by political shenanigans to bring him down!

It has to be accepted this is the difference between a political novice, political shenanigans and one well groomed, trained and visionary leader who till today has not failed those who support him to lead us to greater heights!

Thank you Pak Jib!

And by this new venture just inked and legally binding agreement for a High-Speed Rail project travel between Singapore and Malaysia is set to get even easier!

Despite being in London, attending to strategic issues and taking a break with family, I am advised that the said agreement was witnessed by Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office in Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur.

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The agreement was signed by Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure and Minister for Transport Khaw Boon Wan for Singapore and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department dear friend, Abdul Rahman Dahlan for Malaysia.

The High-Speed Rail line is expected to be completed by 2026 and will cut travel time between Singapore and Malaysia down to 90 minutes.

Customs and immigration facilities will also be located at both terminal stations in eastern Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, as well as at Iskandar Puteri, just across the Straits of Johor from Singapore.

International passengers will thus be able to clear immigration for both sides at their point of departure.

Both governments have committed to take responsibility for the development, construction and maintenance of infrastructure and stations within their countries.

This is indeed a great Christmas present from the premier to all Malaysians!

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MALAYSIA’S APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT URGED NOT TO GIVE SPECIAL TREATMENT TO WHITE FOREIGNERS WHO BREAK LOCAL LAWS! (Part 2)

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“One should not look at each and every visitor as a potential terrorist, drug smuggler, a potential runaway or one arriving to break the country’s laws!

I do admit there are many who do that but that professional in uniform should have the experience and adequate training, to know the difference between a friend and a potential foe!”

MALAYSIA’S APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT URGED NOT TO GIVE SPECIAL TREATMENT TO WHITE FOREIGNERS WHO BREAK LOCAL LAWS! (Part 2)

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My earlier blog posting on the same subject seems to have hide many raw nerves across several countries and at the same time received support for addressing an issue that is usually below the radar as governments do not want to address issues that are critical and concerning as the world becomes a global village!

Gone are the days where one is looked down and suspiciously because of one’s color, race, religion or way of life!

But the dilemma is politicians want to be politically correct and not committed to address wrongs even though there are enough laws both domestic and international which includes United Nations!

So why do politicians pussy foot when what is expected is a direct intervention to right wrongs?

Claire from the United States – you are certainly right that the majority of people are in fact good people, both in uniform and without, caring, sensitive, and participatory and I thank the heavens for them!

But the narrative is fast changing and profiling and stereo typing is today the hallmark when one steps into the arrival halls of a second country as a tourist, a visitor, a professional, one needing medical treatment!

Richard from the UK – you are right mate that there are also morons and idiots among us who fill an immigration form which could be in a foreign language some intentionally deceiving and in other cases out of ignorance which creates self-inflicted problems from the authorities rightly addressing their due diligence, compliance and laws of that state!

I have no sympathy for these idiots!

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Bridgette from Australia – I am speaking about the reasonable man or woman who arrives after a 10 to 15 hour flight to visit or see a relative.

The law abiding individuals who are sometimes asked impertinent questions that sounds like criminalizing or profiling the arrival?

You must remember the arrivals are from a different country, race, religion, culture and upbringing and this is the reason I have always mitigated to my friends in diplomatic services and the home ministries that front end officials must have specialized training to interact with foreigners.

Medical doctor, Ruth Stephens, let me address your remark with what I personally experienced during my recent visit to certain country.

I had visited the Western portion of that state where I was visiting my foster father who was very gravely ill and addressing some very grave critical issues. I wanted to be there for him as he was my friend, priest, confidant, father figure ever since I turned 18!

While I was there I went shopping too to pick up Christmas gifts for my family in the UK!

During the fourth day there, I received word that my Malaysian “father” died at Monash University Hospital in Melbourne.

My world came crashing on me as he brought me up from an age of 11!

Changing my travel plans and tickets I rushed to Melbourne and did all that a son should do for his father and family who lived there.

As I was returning home, I was advised by very kind souls at the check in, that I need to address GST repayment at the departure lounge.

And I did just that.

I showed the official all the receipts.

Which included the funeral expenses invoice.

She threw it back saying that were for service and as such no claims entertained.

This despite me telling her that there was a coffin bought and that was not a service.

She refused to entertain me.

We moved to the second receipt where the items I purchased in Western Australia were listed.

The official asked me where were the items purchased?

I replied that they were in the checked in baggage as it was major shopping as can be seen from the receipts.

She immediately took offense saying that my tone was abusive?
She called her supervisor to attend to me and I moved aside shocked at this response!

As the lead consumerist in Malaysia, ASEAN/APEC and a lawyer, I have traveled in enough countries and what was before me was traumatic and for one who has just buried his father!

The supervisor came.

I explained what happened.

She was nice, pleasant and very professional.

I told her my disbelief and did not want to continue my claims.

But I told her that I will have a word with the Australian Ambassador in Malaysia, on my experience, on my return.

I gave her my mobile number inviting her over to Malaysia as my guest and thanking her, even though nothing was achieved.

I told her please do come to my country and see how we treat visitors!

The point raised here is, you need someone well versed with addressing consumer grouses and issues, one exposed to foreigners so that the conversation is one of respect, dignity and with decorum.

Not one trying claim GST which is one’s right to be made to feel one is acting fraudulently in making the claims?

And you do not speak down to clients or visitors!

A visitor may not know and it is one’s duty to explain or to produce the purchases physically at counter when claims are made!

It is not just individuals, uniformed agencies, law and order groups, but the foreign media as well, the manner they write about us – talking down when their (foreign)citizens are brought to book for breaking the country’s laws!

Claudia from South Africa, alluding to what you cited – yes indeed, true, look how they write and what they write?

A case in point the tragedy of MH370!

We too have laws, we have guidelines, we too have statutes and practice parliamentary democracy, when it suits us?

Professor Gibbons with due respects sir, I fully agree these are the minorities who are creating the negative narratives!

But the point is, these minorities are monopolizing the narrative and that creates a distasteful image!

We are visiting your country and spending our money as a tourist, or a professional providing a service most time free – when invited.

One should not look at each and every visitor as a potential terrorist, drug smuggler, a potential runaway or one arriving to break the country’s laws!

I do admit there are many who do that but that professional in uniform should have the experience and adequate training, to know the difference between a friend and a potential foe!

Or how hurt we feel, when an idiot and mental retard abuses us verbally on the train or bus, when there are no seats and he shouts out – “Get out you Paki bastards!”

Or when another who punches a colored conductor only doing his job, on a train when he caught him traveling without a ticket!

And the whole train comes to a stop as Police reports are to be made and a whole lot of commuters made to suffer because of the action of an idiot!

What I am advocating is globally is it is time to hold governments and their law enforcement accountable for practices that involve targeting people because of race, ethnicity, or nationality.

Stereotypes based on race have held people of underrepresented communities down for centuries.

One of the worst forms of discrimination is being subject to police brutality or profiling simply because the terms ‘suspicious’ and ‘person of color’ are used interchangeably by law enforcement.

In order to begin to hold rogue police officers or other uniform agencies accountable, there must be systemic changes implemented.

Perhaps, it is time that we have The End Racial Profiling Act (ERPA)universally initiated by the United Nations!

It could be one legislative solution that may help relieve some of indignities suffered by individuals and minorities!

For me as an attorney – the End Racial Profiling Act calls for a clear definition of racial discriminatory practices internationally against racial profiling.

The bill should also mandate collection of data pertaining to racial profiling and provides funding for the retraining of officers.

For me ERPA initiated and enforced globally will hold law enforcement agencies accountable and allow for injunctive relief for those who are victims of racial profiling practices!

I must admit with all honesty that the said act will not fix the tensions between communities of color and law enforcement but it is a step in the right direction.

As a global society, we want to believe that the days of racially motivated abuses, profiling, killings are history, and the deaths for example of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Mike Brown (and the list goes on) should show us that we are far from the ideal of equality promised by our respective constitutions.

And we must be grateful for write ups, the prevalence of social media and nationwide protests, which have given a rise in awareness about the unequal treatment of people of color!

Whether they be at immigration entry points, by police or other agencies!

Whether they are minorities in a domestic situation, or travelers or visitors, we need to address such abuses!

Whether they be stop-and-frisk program, for example, which showed that police targeted blacks and Latinos about 85 percent of the time, with most searches ending without evidence.

To show the double standards do you know that in 2013 alone, for example the police department in Ferguson, Missouri in the US made more than 5,000 stops and 600 searches, with black citizens making up 86 percent of the stops and 92 percent of the searches.

And yes, indeed the said statistics alone are alarming, but they become even more so when you discover that only 67 percent of Ferguson identifies as black.

There have been countless statistics pointing towards the use of racial profiling practices and prominent figures speaking on the subject.

In the US – dear friend, Attorney General, Eric Holder, spoke out against racial profiling in 2014 at the annual National Action Network convention in New York.

While speaking, he revealed how he fears that his son may become a victim of police brutality if profiling activities do not stop.

These are real fears many parents who have children of color seem to be having more and more, which leaves us with one question: “If law enforcement cannot be trusted, then, who do people of color turn to in times of need, whether as a local, a visitor or traveler?”

May the ALMIGHTY help us as we ponder through these tough questions this Christmas and the New Year 2017

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MALAYSIA’S APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT URGED NOT TO GIVE SPECIAL TREATMENT TO WHITE FOREIGNERS WHO BREAK LOCAL LAWS!

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MALAYSIA’S APEC/ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST DR JACOB GEORGE – MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT URGED NOT TO GIVE SPECIAL TREATMENT TO WHITE FOREIGNERS WHO BREAK LOCAL LAWS!

“I am advising dear friend, the Malaysian Home Minister and deputy Prime Minister that this must change in view recent events!
Respect should be earned and there is no room of “white supremacy traits here!” Dr Jacob George

In 2015, four tourists who posed naked on a mountain in Malaysia have been given jail terms and fined.

Briton Eleanor Hawkins, Canadians Lindsey and Danielle Peterson, and Dutchman Dylan Snel admitted causing a public disturbance.

The group was blamed for a magnitude 5.9 earthquake after stripping on Mount Kinabalu, which is considered sacred.

They were jailed for three days, but their sentences were back-dated to reflect time already served.

Inexplicably, a judge at Kota Kinabalu Magistrates’ Court said the four had shown remorse and ordered the jail terms to run from 9 June, meaning the group was free to leave.

However, he also fined each defendant 5,000 Malaysian ringgit (£860/$1,330).

The tourists were escorted to the court house for their own safety by high powered security personnel in view the public outrage caused by these foreigners!

Then the BBC’s Jennifer Pak, who was in court, was reported to have stated then that she understood the group were now waiting to pay their fines before being deported.

Hawkins’ lawyer then, one Ronny Cham said the 23-year-old, from Draycott in Derbyshire, would be freed from police custody later once the appropriate documentation were done.

She would then fly home to the UK.

Her father Timothy Hawkins is reported to have said that the sentence was “appropriate and fair” but it appeared she had been “treated pretty badly” amid the media scrum outside court.

He is reported to have said further that “She’s obviously very traumatized,”

“Eleanor knows what she did was wrong and disrespectful and she is deeply sorry for any offense she has caused to the Malaysian people” he added.

What do the Malaysian papers say?

Foreign coverage of the story has been criticized in the Malaysian press.

Several local newspapers accused British tabloids of exaggerating reports that the tourists were arrested for causing the quake, rather than the actual charge of public indecency.

The Sabah-based Daily Express accused the papers of running “sensational” headlines, while the country’s most popular English-language paper, The Star, said reports (pictured) alleging Hawkins and the others were arrested for angering mountain gods “couldn’t be further from the truth”.

Tourism minister, Masidi Manjun, said their acts would have merited punishment for breaking local laws and norms whether or not the earthquake took place.

Mr Masidi, who comes from the foothills of Mount Kinabalu, was also quoted in the Malay Mail as saying there had been some “fact-twisting” by foreign media.

“I don’t know whether this is on purpose just to ridicule us, or their failure to appreciate our local traditions and customs,” he said.

Eleanor Hawkins and her co-accused covered their faces as they arrived at Kota Kinabalu Magistrates’ Court and that action speaks for itself!

Eleanor Hawkins had previously admitted the stunt was “stupid and disrespectful”

And all admitted a charge of “committing an obscene act in public”.

My learned friend’s Malaysian prosecutors went on record that the four tourists, along with six others, climbed the peak to enjoy the sunrise on 30 May and then challenged each other to take off their clothes.

Dutch national Dylan Thomas Snel, 23, and Canadian siblings Lindsey, 23, and Danielle Peterson, 22, have all pleaded guilty!

Their lawyer said they had simply ignored pleas not to remove their clothes, and had not verbally abused the guide.

In mitigation, solicitors representing all four defendants, said they were ignorant of local customs and “their act had brought shame and ridicule upon themselves and their respective countries”.

He asked the judge to not make an example of them, saying the intense international media coverage had traumatized them enough.

The prosecution on the other hand, argued the public interest was central to the case and, according to Malaysian law, anyone committing an “obscene act” which causes annoyance in a public place should be jailed for up to three months.

Many Malaysians had been outraged by the group’s behavior, and the manner the country’s laws were being ridiculed in foreign media and write-ups!

They conveniently forgot that Malaysia is not a banana republic, we too have laws.

They forget that there was a lot of public anger still against the tourists because many of them believe Mount Kinabalu is a sacred spot where their souls go to rest when they die!

And that was the spot these foreigners are alleged to have stripped on, urinated – something that many locals say is disrespectful!

And in the midst of this ugly event an earthquake struck killing 18 people, including children, and leaving hundreds more stranded.

The response of fear among the local extremely pious and religious people was obvious!

Police were still seeking five other suspects but some were thought to have already left Sabah.

If this incident did not give enough exposure to the country’s sensitivities this year 2016, a staffer for an Australian government minister Christopher Pyne is reportedly among nine Australian men arrested in Malaysia after stripping during a Formula 1 Grand Prix race to reveal underwear bearing a Malaysia-flag print.

Jack Walker, Pyne’s adviser on defense innovation, was one of the men pictured removing their clothes at the end of the grand prix, won by Australian Daniel Ricciardo.

The spectators were arrested around the time the race ended at the Sepang International Circuit and were being investigated for “intentional insult with intent to provoke a breach of the peace” and public indecency.

Photos of the men flaunting the country’s national colors went viral in Malaysia after the race, provoking angry comments from some social media users who accused them of insulting the country.

These stupid and idiotic Australians deserved to be locked up, investigated and taken action against!

A jail term and fine would be the right response!

And why?

They were guests in our country but showed a huge lack of respect to us as Malaysians; this is stupid behavior from foreigners who have no sense of cultural sensitivity and respect!

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They racially profile and criminalize us – Asians – when we visit their countries on the onset by asking insensitive and outrageous questions and if we enquire further, they call their supervisors on us, even for a simple query on GST protocols, or threaten prosecution as can be seen by the signage displayed openly at entry counters, but in comparison we treat them even the low lives likes these fools, who broke our laws with kindness, respect, dignity and decorum, that they spend no time in our jails but are deported all because of a “government to government backroom response?”

Now there are also TV programs in their countries, on those caught breaking their laws and it is time, we did the same!

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I am advising dear friend, the Malaysian Home Minister and deputy Prime Minister (above)  that this must change in view recent events!
Respect should be earned and there is no room of “white supremacy traits here!”

We welcome tourists but by the same standards and guidelines that they too enforce on visitors to their countries!

And there should be jail terms too for those who break our laws and we should not allow their government to initiate “backroom negotiations” to play down the offense and get these idiots and morons deported!

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australia or their counterparts in Britain and other countries should take cognizance of this immediately!

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