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?
PETALING JAYA: While the whole nation is grappling to come to terms with increasing costs and low wages, a group who already hold jobs elsewhere have found a lucrative second source of income – the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF).
Collectively, 16 of them would, on the expiry of their two-year term collect in excess of RM2 million as directors of HRDF – a fund which was set up to upgrade the skills of employees to get better-paid jobs.
The chairman gets a monthly allowance of RM7,500 per month and a meeting allowance of RM2,500.
The other directors, some senior government officials and others representing trade bodies and employers organisation, are paid a whopping director’s fee of RM4,000 per month each and an “attendance allowance” of RM2,000 per meeting.
Above that, they also get a one-off payment of RM2,500 for a tuxedo!
Other perks include first class travel, hotel accommodation and subsistence allowance when meetings are held out of Kuala Lumpur.
According to the HRDF regulations, board meeting will have be held every quarter but additional meetings are requisitioned when issues or new policies have to be discussed before implementation.
HRDF, in a statement said it received the green light from the Human Resource Minister, Datuk Seri Richard Riot, to implement a new set of remunerations in December 2014, and has since been in effect.
Directors are eligible for re-appointment upon the completion of their tenure, and some of the current members have returned for another term.
What is alarming is that these monies are coming from levies imposed on employers who are required by law to contribute 1% of their total payroll to the HRDF.
These monies are meant to be used to train their workers and upgrade their skills and not paying wanton allowances to non-executive directors.
Naturally, many employers are unhappy with the remuneration system which some have described as exorbitant.
Most public-listed companies limit meeting allowances, usually every quarter, to allowances of between RM300 and RM600.
“We contribute so that our employees can benefit from the scheme but not for directors to enjoy large allowances,” said a managing director of a manufacturing company.
Even government statutory bodies like the Port Klang Authority pays only RM600 for meetings which sometimes last a full day while the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency pays its panel members RM300 per meeting.
Attempts to any additional information were met with rebuke from the HRDF’s corporate communications director G. Shashikala Devi.
In an e-mail response, she said: “The management has decided that we will not be entertaining any further enquiries from theSun until there is transparency on the content and the context of all articles they wish to write on HRDF. We will, of course, provide theSun with our fullest support if they apply clarity in their interactions with us.”
Source: the Sun daily
Address: Wisma MTUC,10-5, Jalan USJ 9/5T, 47620 Subang Jaya,Selangor | Tel: 03-80242953 | Fax: 03-80243225 | Email: email@example.com