Apex court dumps women’s gender bias case appeal
PUTRAJAYA, Aug 13 — The Federal Court here today refused an application of leave to appeal by eight former female workers who claimed gender discrimination on their retirement age.
Noting that the government had addressed the issue of gender in view of the recently passed Bill on the minimum retirement age for the private sector, Court of Appeal President Tan Sri Md Raus Shariff, who chaired a five-member panel, said: “As far as we are concerned, the government has taken steps and the issue of gender has been addressed.”
He further noted that the applicants, who were former employees of Guppy Plastic Industries Sdn Bhd, had failed to meet the requirements under Section 96 of the Courts of Judicature Act 1964.
The panel, which also comprised Chief Judge of Malaya Tan Sri Zulkefli Ahmad Makinudin, Federal Court judge Datuk Suriyadi Halim Omar, Datuk Ahmad Ma'arop and Datuk Jeffrey Tan Kok Wha unanimously dismissed the group's application.
The eight — Gan Soh Eng, 61, M.Janama, 64, I. Iyyamah, 65, V. Pereyarka, 64, S. Danalachumy, 63, S. Tolasiamah, 63, P. Marri, 65, and S. Letchmi, 62, — had sought leave to appeal a March 21 Court of Appeal decision against them.
The Court of Appeal had upheld a High Court decision allowing Guppy Plastic Industries a judicial review to quash an Industrial Court's decision that the women were dismissed without just cause or excuse.
The eight women, who were employed as production operators, cleaners and general workers by Guppy Plastic Industries, claimed they were forced to retire in June 2001 after the company enforced a rule stipulating 50 and 55 as the retirement ages for female and male employees respectively.
The women were represented by lawyer Ragunath Kesavan, who had earlier contended that there were two legal issues concerning Article 8 of the Federal Constitution and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which required the determination of the Federal Court.
Counsel Wong Keat Ching who appeared for the company, however, submitted that the legal questions posed were academic in view of the Bill passed by Parliament in June this year, stating that the retirement age was 60 years for all private sector employees.
She added that at the material time, there was no law or ministerial guideline to set the retirement age and her client had adopted the policy used by other plastic companies.
Wong said with the newly passed bill, the collective agreements of the company would now change. — Bernama