KUALA LUMPUR: Employers are happy over the deferment of the newly increased levy for foreign workers and eager to give the Government their views on the matter.
Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) president Matthew Tee described the government’s stand as “a good start”.
“It shows that the Government listens to the people,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had said yesterday that a meeting would be held with stakeholders after the Chinese New Year.
MBAM vice-president Tan Sri AK Nathan hoped that due consideration would be given to the issues raised as a hefty hike in the levy would have a significant impact on the industry.
“We are happy that the Government is willing to look into the issue as it is a big headache and concern for the industry,” he told The Star yesterday.
He suggested that the increase in foreign workers levy be put off at least until the economic climate improves.
“The situation for some companies is already bleak,” Nathan added.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said that employers had been very taken aback by the increase.
“We hope that after discussion the levy will be replaced at the original rate,” he said.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said that the hike would create a chain effect, resulting in prices of many other goods going up, including food.
“The overall economy will suffer and it will also indirectly encourage illegal immigrants to enter the country,” he said.
Malaysian Trade Union Congress secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam argued that whatever was decided had to ensure that the levy is borne by the employers and not the workers.
He agreed with the rationale for the levy hike as a way for employers to be weaned off their dependence on foreign labour.