May 18, 2024

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Dr Halim KESUMA

Labor Day is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, which falls on May 1 every year in most countries. Although there are countries that celebrate Labor Day on other dates, in most countries, Labor Day is celebrated on May 1 every year and is a public holiday, including Malaysia. The Malaysian government has declared Labor Day a public holiday, which is one of the five public holidays stipulated under the Employment Act 1955, Section 60D(1)(a) & (b). In accordance with the Employment Act 1955, the Government encourages employers to comply with the Labor Management Regulations. According to the Malaysian Labor Force Survey Report by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, there were almost 15,797,000 labor force in Malaysia in 2021. The theme for Labor Day 2024 is “Pekerja Kesuma Bangsa”.

The term “worker” refers to persons who work to receive remuneration or earn an income, as well as persons who hold positions in the public or private sector. In the Malaysian context, the word “worker” refers to persons who work for their employer for wages or salary. They may be individuals working in various sectors such as services, manufacturing, agriculture and the professions. Workers also include laborers, professionals such as doctors and nurses, office workers and so on. This also includes us at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) as employees who contribute to economic growth and social development especially in the production of manpower and development of talents for economic activities. We therefore play a crucial role in the country’s economy.

“Kesuma” refers to a flower that is often considered a symbol of beauty, gentleness and fragrance. It can also mean something very beautiful or striking. For this year’s Labor Day theme, “Kesuma” is used as a symbol to represent the concept of cultural diversity and unity in the workplace or in society as a whole. Symbolism is the use of symbols to convey deeper or abstract meanings. Therefore, in the context of this year’s Labor Day theme, “kesuma” symbolizes standing up for the values of diversity and unity. This is of great importance to UTM’s ecosystem, which is made up of a diverse set of employees serving a variety of students, industries, communities and clients.

The term “Bangsa” refers to “Bangsa Malaysia”,” i.e. the harmonious coexistence of people in Malaysia within the framework of the five principles of Rukun Negara. In the context of the theme “Pekerja Kesuma Bangsa”, the term “kesuma bangsa” refers to the idea of ethnic diversity and unity among the workers of the country. This theme aims to recognize the contributions and ethnic diversity in the Malaysian labor market and to promote a spirit of unity among workers from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.

At UTM, employees from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds come together in unity within diversity to form a strong and competitive nation. Employees who embody the essence of “kesuma” for the Malaysian nation can fulfill various roles such as representing different ethnicities and cultures, bringing a diversity of experiences, knowledge and skills to the workplace. We embrace the spirit of unity and cooperation amongst ourselves, regardless of ethnic or cultural backgrounds. We work together to achieve common goals and develop the nation. We respect the cultures and traditions of other ethnic groups and promote mutual understanding between ethnic groups. This builds bridges of communication and reduces potential conflicts. Through harmonious cooperation, we contribute to the economic development of the country by maximizing the potential of different sectors and markets.

Happy Labor Day 2024!

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