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?
KOTA BAHARU, March 13 (Bernama) — Following the Cabinet decision to stop bringing in new foreign workers, employees’ unions are urged to help employers get currently available foreign workers who do not have valid documents.
International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the government’s decision must be implemented well to avoid jeopardising the industrial sector as well as other sectors which need foreign labour.
“Companies which need foreign workers can get illegal foreign worker who are currently available and will be legitimised, there must be communication between the employers and the relevant parties so that if any issues come up during the transition period, appropriate action can be taken,” he said.
Mustapa was speaking to reporters after launching the 2014-2017 Session of the Mid-Term Review of the National Union of the Teaching Profession (NUTP) here, Sunday which was also attended by NUTP president Hashim Adnan and Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Azih Muda.
Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government had decided not to bring in more new foreign workers, with immediate effect.
However, Ahmad Zahid said the decision, made at the Cabinet meeting last Friday, did not involve the domestic help sector and any employer who wants foreign workers must get them from among those who are already in the country but whose work visas had expired.
Mustapa said employers must also give priority to employment of locals.
Meanwhile, Azih urged workers’ unions to be more proactive in assisting locals get employed.
He also urged the government to increase the number of Immigration Department personnel, now numbering 13,000, at the border areas in order to be more effective in controlling the number of illegal foreign workers entering the country.
“If we want the border areas not to be encroached and the operations to be more effective, then the number of Immigration Department staff must be increased.
“We cannot depend on other enforcement agencies under the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) such as the People’s Volunteer Corps as the Immigration Department has the authority in this matter,” he said.
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