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?
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 18 (Bernama) — The government will implement strict liability provisions involving recruitment of migrant workers in the first half of 2016.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the provisions would include strict compliance on minimum wages and equal treatment between local and foreign workers.
Currently, there are 2.1 million registered immigrants in Malaysia and likely over one million undocumented.
Low also said the government plans to increase fines to discourage local employers from hiring illegal workers, which currently stands at RM5,000 per illegal worker.
“The current rate is very low. We will make it higher, probably more than double. The intention is to prohibit employers from employing illegals,” he told reporters after the launch of the World Bank’s Malaysia Economic Monitor report on Immigrant Labour Friday by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar.
Meanwhile, Abdul Wahid said the government would give more emphasis on improving the management of foreign workers, moving forward.
He added that a comprehensive employment policy for foreign labour would be formulated, taking into account the requirements of industries and welfare of immigrant workers.
“Active consultations with the industries on policies and demand for immigrant labour will be conducted on a regular basis as practiced by many developed countries towards improving the transparency in the management of immigrant workers,” said Abdul Wahid.
He pointed out that the engagements would help the government to identify demand and gather relevant input to formulate the right strategies.
“The reform in the management of immigrant workers would have to be undertaken in a market friendly manner, in response to the needs of our economy and as recommended by the World Bank,” he added.
Abdul Wahid said the government would also look at improving the overall labour market system, revamp management of foreign labour, which is currently fragmented and requires greater coordination and harmonise enforcement across ministries.
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