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Chan delivers a lunchbox to a Foodpanda rider.

26 June 2021

KOTA KINABALU: The government has been urged to be attentive towards the gig economy workers and give due recognition for their contribution towards the building of the Malaysian economy.

Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu Chan Foong Hin in a statement today said more and more people, especially those affected by the pandemic, have turned to the gig economy such as e-hailing and food delivery services as well as online businesses to supplement their income.

“I would like to express my solidarity and gratitude towards the hard labour of these food delivery persons and drivers who have faithfully delivered orders of food to customers during the Covid-19 pandemic, regardless of the sun or rain, he said after launching an event themed "You Deliver Food to People, in return, I Deliver You Food", here, today.

In conjunction with the event, he had distributed over 300 lunchboxes in Lintas, Bornion Centre, Damai, Pacificity Shopping Mall, Api-Api Centre, and Star City, among others, mainly to food delivery workers and a small portion to taxi drivers.

The lunchboxes were sponsored by the proprietor of Auto Car Dealer.

"The gig economy is a labour market characterised by freelance works as opposed to permanent contracts. Freelance workers charge fees based on specific tasks; there is no employment contract, and they are not restricted to any specific companies or occupations.

"They also have flexible working hours, as long as they complete them within a specified time,” Chan stated.

He further added that technology applications such as Grab and MyCar have served as “bridges”, connecting customers and service providers, such as car-hailing services.

“In the recent years as the gig economy started to gain footage, food delivery persons have gotten the attention as being amongst those shouldering a heavy responsibility during the Movement Control Order (MCO).

"Although food delivery persons are widely regarded as "frontline heroes", their labour rights protection is still not ideal. Even with a high degree of freedom of work, it also carries the risk of income instability."

He also noted that under the raging pandemic, the domestic unemployment rate has risen and the gig economy is expected to continue seeing growth.

“The Industrial Relations Act had been amended by Parliament in December last year, and at that point in time, the Ministry of Human Resources had announced that an amendment to the Employment Act and the Trade Union Act is in the pipeline.

"Unfortunately, as of to date, the content of the draft Bills is still unknown and has not been provided to us MPs,” he asserted.

In the past six months, Parliamentary meetings had been suspended as a result of the emergency declaration to fight the pandemic and the difficult political situation the Federal Government is in.

"The plight of workers in the gig economy should be taken seriously. I hope that our country can learn from the experience of other countries and improve the relevant legal framework. I urge the government to pay attention to the gig economy and include plans to alleviate youth unemployment, support the gig economy, and uphold the rights of workers in the Twelfth Malaysia Plan (RMK12)."

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