Department of Trade Union Affairs, Malaysia is commonly known as the Jabatan Hal Ehwal Kesatuan Sekerja Malaysia in Malay.
The country's first trade unions related legislation was the Trade Unions Enactment 1940 of the Federated Malay States, which was promulgated to provide for the registration and control of Trade Unions but the enforcement of the legislation was delayed until July 1946 and extended to apply throughout the Federation of Malaya by virtue of the Trade Unions Ordinance 1946.
Department of Trade Union Affairs was established in July 1946 as the Registry of Trade Unions (Malay: Pejabat Pendaftaran Kesatuan Sekerja) to enforce the Trade Unions Ordinance 1946, which required trade unions to be registered.
After the Federation became independent in 1957, the Trade Unions Ordinance 1959 was enacted and came into force on June 1, 1959 replacing the Trade Unions Ordinance 1946. All registered trade unions were required to re-register.
Two years after Malaysia was formed, the Ordinance was also enforced throughout Sabah on March 25, 1965 under the Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Ordinance of Sabah [Cap. 143] and Sarawak on August 19, 1965 under the Trade Unions Ordinance of Sarawak [Cap. 78].
In 1981, the Trade Unions Ordinance 1959 was revised and referred to as the Trade Unions Act 1959 [Act 262]. The Trade Unions and Trade Disputes Ordinance of Sabah [Cap. 143] and the Trade Unions Ordinance of Sarawak [Cap. 78] were repealed.
The Trade Unions Act 1959 [Act 262] was amended in 1989 and as a result the name of the Registry of Trade Unions was changed to the Department of Trade Unions Affairs to reflect its wider role and responsibilities.