Malaysian Industrial Relations at Century's Turn: Vision 2020 or a Spectre of the Past?
Malaysia's industrial relations (IR) has been characterized by extensive state control guaranteeing a high level of managerial prerogative within the workplace, minimal overt conflict and very little bargaining power for labour. These arrangements were an integral component of the package to attract investors when Malaysia's industrialization strategy focused on low-cost, export-oriented industries. Since then, however, Malaysia has adopted the goal of developed country status by 2020 and embarked on a higher value-added, more capital-intensive industrialization strategy. This paper analyzes current Malaysian IR at the workplace level, posing the question as to whether the economic progress towards 'Vision 2020' is being accompanied by a transformation of Malaysia's IR. It will be seen that there is evidence of substantial growth in training, the implementation of multi-skilling in some workplaces as well as isolated instances of some 'lean production' practices. Fundamental change, however, is not occurring; workers remain excluded from the decision-making process both within and outside the workplace.
International Journal of Human Resource Management