Malaysia is one of Asia's biggest employers of foreign labour. But recently, cases of deaths, abuse and forced labour have come to light. What is going on? Who is protecting these migrant workers?
“The wage rate is to be reviewed every two years. This is the third year already so we are in the process where the Cabinet will come to a decision on what the new rate will be, to be maintained or increased above the existing RM800.
“It is expected to increase but we are not sure by how much. We will have to wait and see the official announcement from the government.”
On the enforcement of minimum wage levels, he said after two years since the ruling was set, there were still cases of employers who have not paid their workers the minimum wage and as such the department is taking steps to prosecute these errant employers.
“Employers must realise now that the minimum wage for workers is set at RM800. There will no compound as we will take them straight to court to be prosecuted,” he said.
Kamal said this to the media at the Meeting of Persatuan Agency Pengambilan Pekerja Asing Negeri Sabah (Pappas) members event at Palace Hotel on Monday.
Integrity-wise Kamal said he had always instructed his officers to carry out their duties with dedication, honesty without receiving any form of incentive from employers to hasten their applications and for the officers not to slow down the processing of applications (for such incentive purposes).
“So far such cases (of lack of integrity) have not occurred among our officers. We have always advised our officers to have integrity when carrying out their duties as we are all employed to carry out our duties so there is no need for employers to give additional incentives.
“There have so far also been no allegations or cases against our officers in the Labour department.
“We use the online application also to reduce contact between employers and officers to avoid slander. When we go online via the Business Licensing Electronic System Support (Bless) system, employers need not go to meet our officers and using this as well we are able to hasten applications for all matters including renewal of licences and Private Employment Agencies (APS) matters, for example, as the required documents are all listed there.”
Meanwhile the department’s Principal Assistant Director (Enforcement) Othman Bin Abdullah said they currently have opened 156 investigation papers for the whole State this year.
“Currently from figure this we have identified 96 cases of offences by employers where we can already proceed to take action to prosecute or compound them.”
He said most of the cases which involve minimum wage, licence to employ immigrant workers and employment contracts offences were from big towns such as Sandakan, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu.
“Currently there are 12 investigation papers which have to do with minimum wage offences and two have already been prosecuted,” he said.
Pappas President Anthony Leong said the whole day event was to brief their members on the process of labour contract preparation for the “3+1” Amnesty programme for document-less Filipino and Indonesian workers to legalise them.
He said the presence of the Labour director at the meeting was also to gather feedback from Pappas members on the situation and a discussion on any problems faced by members in their dealings with the department. “So we need to work together to ensure everything is smooth and at the same time we assist our members (employers) to clear their labour licences.
“After today all the members are clear about the process for the labour contract and in three months’ time they would be meeting with the director to discuss any processing problems and to have a dialogue. So it’s a good thing for our members to get the information direct from the department Director,” he said.
On the recent news report that foreign worker recruiting agents were using the Immigration Department’s name to collect money illegally from employers Leong said he believes that Pappas members are not involved in the reported incident.
Source: Daily Express
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