Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers urges govt to probe alleged abuse of foreign workers before imposing compounds

KUCHING, Jan 6 — The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) opines that the government should not impose compounds of up to RM30,000 per worker on companies that fail to provide jobs for the foreign workers that they recruit until the authorities have thoroughly investigated the matter.

FMM president Tan Sri Datuk Soh Thian Lai said it would be unfair for the authorities to immediately place the blame on employers without proper probe into the matter.

“Manufacturers are subjected to strict requirements from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) as the regulatory agency for the manufacturing sector, where employers must show proof of orders and demand from customers as justification for the number of foreign workers applied.

“These requirements ensure that the industry does not abuse the system and bring in excessive number of workers. In fact, many manufacturers who had applied for foreign workers after the freeze on applications was lifted in February 2022, have held back bringing in their full approved quota numbers after experiencing subsequent slowdown in demand as they would not be able to sustain these workers,” he said in a statement yesterday.

According to Soh, acts of bringing workers with no confirmed jobs are very likely by unscrupulous agents who bring in workers under false promises of jobs awaiting them and engage in fraudulent activities in the recruitment process by falsifying applications to bring in the workers using genuine company credentials.

As such, he said the major weaknesses in the entire recruitment process must be tackled and remedied immediately and with action taken on the culprits in such incidences.

“It is for this precise reason that FMM has been calling upon the government for a more effective foreign worker management through a single ministry and single end-to-end online system to ensure a holistic, fair and transparent administration of foreign workers in the country, where no other ministry or agency should get involved in the process of employer eligibility in the recruitment process other than the single ministry in charge, which should be the Ministry of Human Resources.

“In addition, the government agencies responsible for the border controls at entry points should be more vigilant and exercise proper controls in admitting documented workers,” he said.

Nonetheless, Soh stressed that it was critical for the government to also consider that there were genuine cases of employers requiring workers to meet their orders, amidst the current freeze on employment, a situation compounded by acts of irresponsible parties of leaving foreign workers in the lurch after they had arrived in the country.

He said the government should resume the foreign worker’s application and approval to cater for market-driven worker needs.

“Having a total and across-the-board halt in the foreign worker application and approval process will intensify the challenging business environment for our industries at this current juncture, which could impact growth of our industries and the economy at large.

“That said, while the industry is slowly transforming towards more automation and technology adoption, the sector will continue to need foreign workers to support certain aspects of their operations while they gradually reduce dependence on foreign workers,” Soh added. — Borneo Post Online



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