SUBANG JAYA, Aug 23 – Veteran unionist G. Rajasekaran has declared he will not defend his post as secretary-general of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) which he has held since 1994, denying the decision was due to “internal politics”.
He also endorsed his deputy Abdul Halim Mansor, who is also National Union of Petroleum and Chemicals Industries (NUPCI) secretary-general, for the powerful post in the national trade union centre.
When contacted by The Malaysian Insider, Abdul Halim said he will contest the post if he gets the nomination and support for the election which MTUC has yet to announce. The triennial MTUC election is usually held in December.
Three years ago, Rajasekaran barely kept his post with a difference of just four votes, winning over challenger Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid, who is now Kuala Langat MP for PKR. Abdullah Sani had disputed the results but the Kuala Lumpur High Court this year confirmed Rajasekaran’s victory.
The MTUC president is Abdullah’s PKR colleague, Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud.
“I think it’s time I let go of this post, let someone else take over,” Rajasekaran said at his office here recently.
He won the post in 1994 by challenging another veteran unionist and DAP leader Dr V. David. The Metal Industries Employees Union (MIEU) executive secretary was then the MTUC deputy secretary-general.
Traditionally, the deputy secretary-general will take over as secretary-general through elections.
However, Rajasekaran said his decision to not defend his post was not because of alleged internal problems or a leadership crisis within the MTUC.
“I felt I have been here long enough and want to open the way for others ... that’s all, no other reasons,” said the 69-year-old.
When asked if he decided not to contest for his position because of the slim winning three years ago, Rajasekaran said it has nothing to do with the decision.
“If that was the case, I would surely stop after the 2007 election,” Rajasekaran said, adding he had actually decided not to defend the post three years ago but his friends had insisted he continue.
“The insistence is still there but I had made my final decision.
“After this I want to focus on my union and guide the union’s line of leadership to take over my position,” he added.
Abdul Halim, 50, said Rajasekaran had also informed him of his plans to enable him it to take over in the future.
“Rajasekaran had asked me to contest and and move on (to higher positions) to continue MTUC’s fight.
“I have to discuss with my friends, and to contest this position requires the support of my fellow union members ... if there is a nomination I will definitely compete,” said the deputy secretary-general who has been in office for a decade.