Many might see nothing wrong when a young person or child under the age of 16 taking their order during breakfast or lunch at restaurant or coffee shop. I found it very disturbing as they should be in school learning and playing. Surprisingly, after doing some research in internet, it is legal to do that under some rules and condition that benefits the employer and not the children who work with them.
Under the Children and Young Person (Employment) Act 1966, Section 2(3) stated that a young person may be engaged in any of the following employments:
(a) any employment mentioned in subsection (2); and in relation to paragraph (a) of that subsection any employment suitable to his capacity (whether or not the undertaking is carried on by his family);
(b) employment as a domestic servant;
(c) employment in any office, shop (including hotels, bars, restaurants and stalls), god own, factory, workshop, store, boarding house, theatre, cinema, club or association;
(d) employment in an industrial undertaking suitable to his capacity; and
(e) employment on any vessel under the personal charge of his parent or guardian:
Provided that no female young person may be engaged in any employment in hotels, bars, restaurants, boarding houses or clubs unless such establishments are under the management or control of her parent or guardian provided further that a female young person may be engaged in any employment in a club not managed by her parent or guardian with the approval of the Director General.
I would like to show out the act interpretation of the word “child” and “young person” in which stated in Section 1A. 1 paragraph 2 as a “child” means any person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age or of such age as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong may by notification in the Gazette prescribe in which in paragraph 11 and a “young person” means any person who, not being a child, has not completed his sixteenth year of age.
Providing to the employment allowed by Section 2(3) verse (c) in which allows “young person” even a girl who is between above 14 and under 16 may allow to work in shops that include hotels, bars, restaurants and stalls if have consent from her parent or guardian. Once phrase section even allows young girl to work in the bars providing no job specification or restriction if she is serving alcohol or washing dishes at the kitchen if got approval from the Director General in which was not really enforce seriously.
I found an article written by Ms Aneeta Kulasegaran listing some loopholes in Child Young Person (Employment) act as quote
1. Firstly, there is no minimum age stipulated in the Act. “Children” are considered all those under the age of 14 and below, and this is completely unacceptable, especially since as a signatory to the CRC, the State Party must impose a minimum age is required for entry into the work force under Article 38. (NB. Malaysia did not accede to the ILO Convention No.138 which imposes a minimum age for entry into the work force.).
2. Secondly, there is no legislation to govern a minimum wage for minors who work. Children therefore may work long hours for little or no pay. Indeed the CYPE Act allows children to work for longer hours than an adult.
3. There are no prescribed benefits stipulated in the Act – no form of holidays, annual leave, or benefits. Children are certainly the cheapest form of labour and can be found in more and more hazardous occupations.
4. The “adult” Acts i.e. The Employment Act, 1955 and the Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1952 only apply to those legally employed and are over 18. Therefore, the employer is not legally bound to inform nor register children with SOCSO or with EPF, and the children therefore do not receive any compensation nor protection in the event they are injured. Children in the entertainment industry are the exception to this rule, where a license must be obtained from the Ministry for them to perform.
5. The penalties of RM 2,000.00 or six months jail for the first offender and RM 3,000.00 or two years jail for second or subsequent offender are completely inadequate to safeguard and protect children. Furthermore, cases may only be brought before a Magistrate who has limited powers to penalize.
She stated that the act was not implemented fully and the enforcement is lax even with this loosen act. The enforcement of this act is solely to the responsibility of Minister of Labor or Human Resource in which the Director General is “charged with the responsibility” to carry out the provisions of the Act as it written in the web site.
Never that I know that Malaysia have a very few act about child labor law. There is no medical and insurance protection to the children. I start to see more and more children and young person mostly a foreigner form Indonesia and Pilipino work in a coffee shop and restaurant. There are some work in the bar as a server and serves alcohol to customers who already drunk. This I may consider a dangerous work place to the young person in which not from the mechanical hazard but the customer hazard action that lead to raping cases or even expose to murder to children.
Foreign child and young workers have no protection at all from this imperfect act. Even thou an employer might argue that the children are better off than whom staying at the streets that beg for money. I do not agree with them as children are not getting better life by working, but to have an adequate education with out any discrimination of local or foreign labeling. I believe that children should not working to person who not their blood parent and legal guardian.
Children and young person who work in places by law doesn’t have any insurance and medical benefits as an adult worker. They’re actually in a not fair and just environment as children have not fully experience or learning about the real fact of life and easily being manipulate to do work without any concern of him/her being abuse. Research proofed that children are more easy to be a victim of abuse because they doesn’t know the law, the rights that they have and who to call when this thing happen to them. It is not a fair deal for the children.
If this can happen to the local or legal children workers, what worst more can happen to the illegal children who his/her parents are an illegal immigrant. We live in a parallel world where rich and poor, legal and illegal, sick and healthy people living together as a big community. We see what we want to see and blinded by what we don’t want to see. We can accept that other people children serve your family in a coffee shop or clean your table in restaurants but not yours. We can aware some other problems that happen far away from here but ignore and turn blind over problem in front our eyes.
I don’t understand it, but I think this is our willing goat sacrifices to a high and develop economic to a better life for our family and children.
Wikipedia: Child Labor
Aneeta Kulasegaran: Women's And Children's Rights - And The Protection Offered By Domestic Law
Attorney General Chambers: PDF copy of Child and Young Person (Employment) Act 1966