1. The Eighth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting (8th ALMM) was held in Kuala Lumpur from 17-18 September 1990. It was preceded by a Meeting of Senior Officials of ASEAN Labour Ministries on 13-14 September 1990.
  2. The 8th ALMM was officially declared open by the Right Honourable Mr. Abdul Ghafar Baba, the Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia.
  3. The 8th ALMM was attended by H.E. Pehin Dato Haji Awang Isa, Special Adviser to His Majesty The Sultan and Minister of Home Affairs, Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Cosmas Batubara, Minister of Manpower, Republic of Indonesia; H.E. Mr. Ruben D. Torres, Secretary of Labour and Employment, Republic of the Philippines; H.E. Mr. Lee Yock Suan, Minister for Labour, Republic of Singapore; and H.E. Dato’ Lim Ah Lek, Minister of Human Resources, Malaysia. The Thai Minister of Interior, H.E. Mr. Banharn Silpa-Archa was represented by Mr. Siri Keiwalinsrit, Director-General of the Department of Labour, Thailand and the Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat, H.E. Mr. Rusli Noor was represented by Mr. Theng Chye Yam, Director III of the ASEAN Secretariat.
  4. H.E. Dato’ Lim Ah Lek, the Minister of Human Resources, Malaysia and H.E. Mr. Ruben D. Torres, the Philippines’ Secretary for Labour and Employment were unanimously elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively.
  5. The Minister expressed satisfaction over the implementation of the recommendations of the Seventh ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting held in Bali 13-14 October 1988. The Ministers noted the successful implementation of the ASEAN Programme on Industrial Relations and Labour Studies/ASEAN Labour Information Network (APIRLAS/ALINE) and thanked the UNDP for its financial assistance. The Ministers also expressed the hope that the UNDP would continue to provide further financial support for other labour-related projects under its 5th Inter-country Programme (ICP) beginning in 1992, in particular the setting up of an ASEAN Training and Information Centre for Improvement of Working Conditions and Environment (PIACT) and the ASEAN Project on Self Employment and the Development of the Informal Sector.
  6. On the effects of protectionism on employment, the Ministers expressed their concern on the increasing attempts by certain developed countries to deny some member states of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) trade privileges under GATT-negotiated agreements on the ground that they allegedly fail to comply with ILO standards. ASEAN member countries would continue to resist any attempts to link international trade with the compliance of ILO standards and the observance of workers’ rights.
  7. The Ministers noted the financial and manpower constraints faced by developing countries in participating effectively at the annual International Labour Conference (ILC). The Ministers therefore urged the ILO to reduce the duration and agenda items of the ILC. They also urged the ILO to strengthen the collective bargaining position of developing countries vis-à-vis the developed countries. On standards application, the Ministers called upon the ILO to be more flexible and less legalistic in its supervisory role in respect of compliance with ratified ILO conventions. Instead of setting new standards, the ILO should focus its resources on making existing standards more applicable to developing countries and to place more emphasis on employment promotion, training and skills development.
  8. The Ministers also noted the need for wage reforms in ASEAN member countries and the need for them to strengthen their human resources development capabilities. In this regard, technical assistance will be sought from the ILO and other appropriate bodies.
  9. The Ministers expressed grave concern for workers stranded in the Iraq-Kuwait crisis. They called on the international community of nations, the ILO and other international agencies to help in the repatriation of workers especially those from ASEAN out of Iraq and Kuwait as soon as possible and to help the returning workers find re-employment in their countries. In this regard, the Ministers also unanimously agreed to send an immediate message to the Director-General of ILO to urge him to give his urgent attention to this matter.
  10. The Meeting expressed deep appreciation for the offer of the Government of the Philippines to host the Ninth ASEAN Labour Ministers’ Meeting in 1992.
  11. The delegations of Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand expressed their sincere appreciation to the Government and the people of Malaysia for the warm hospitality and the excellent arrangements for the Meeting.
  12. The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN cordiality and solidarity.