- Category: News
KUALA LUMPUR: The government has agreed to further extend the work permits for skilled foreigners who have been working here for more than 10 years, under Temporary Working Pass, with condition of yearly permit renewal, for up to three years.
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran said the levy charges involving the extension of a foreign worker after 10 years would be paid by the employer, as decided by the Cabinet in March 2016 before its implementation in January this year.
“This, however, is only applicable to skilled foreign workers for a maximum of three years and the work permit must be renewed on a yearly basis.”
He said on Aug 29 the Cabinet had announced that the levy charged for foreign workers serving more than 10 years could be extended further for another three years under the same conditions and the levy charges borne by the employer.
“This levy will cost RM10,000 a year and offer is only valid for skilled workers in formal sectors such as manufacturing, construction, service, plantation, agriculture and mining,” Kulasegaran said in a statement today.
He said it was not applicable to sectors which had been put on hold or frozen, as well as outsourcing agencies.
The move was to ensure that foreigners who had been working in the country for a long time and had mastered certain skills would not suffer.
Kulasegaran said those under the temporary work visit pass were also not entitled to permanent resident status or citizenship in the country.
Foreign levy collection was first introduced by the Malaysian Government in 1992 and previously the charges were paid by the workers.
However, in March 2016 the Cabinet revised the foreign workers levy policy and shifted the responsibility for those who have worked more than 10 years for their employers to bare the levy cost.
Kulasegaran said the extension exercise for Temporary Work Visit Pass (PLKS) had commenced two days ago (Oct 1).
- Category: News
KUALA LUMPUR: IT is high time the government seriously looked into measures, including those unpopular with industry players, to reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign workers.
With about four million foreign workers, the country’s reliance on foreign labour is suppressing local wages and impeding Malaysia’s progress towards becoming a high-productivity nation.
Speaking to the New Straits Times, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said the government should address the influx of foreign workers’ issue in its entirety.
Its president, Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor, said the oppression of foreign workers should stop, adding that they, too, should be protected under labour laws.
He said for the past 23 years, the International Labour Organisation had questioned Malaysia over cases under C19 – Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention 1925.
“If we arrest a foreigner in Malaysia for robbery, can he be exempt (from the law) for being a foreigner? The answer is no.
“When the government introduced the Workmen’s Compensation Act, the idea is that these workers are here temporarily.
“It should not be that way. The Employment Act does not specify that it only applies to locals. It refers to anyone who is hired in this country, which means even foreigners deserve to get protection like locals do, as provided for under the Employment Act.”
He said the low cost of foreign labour indirectly led to discrimination against locals by employers.
“If locals are hired, employers are required to pay higher overtime and double or triple pay during public holidays. But foreign workers work seven days a week, 12 hours a day and are given a one-off payment. That is why hiring foreign workers is simply more attractive (to employers).”
On July 29, the New Sunday Times reported that there were at least two illegal workers for every legally employed worker in the country.
The exclusive report, quoting industry players from various economic sectors, revealed that it had always been the “extra” help that employers received from the estimated 2.3 million illegal migrants that allowed them to keep their operations afloat.
The government, they said, should address the root cause of the illegal workers issue, which was attributed to the involvement of third-party agents.
Industry players also urged the government to reconsider a plan by the previous administration to cap the percentage of foreigners in the local job market at 15 per cent by 2020.
There are about four million foreign workers in Malaysia, with 3.2 million of them illegal.
The 1.7 million legal workers account for 12 per cent of the total workers in the job market.
- Category: News
CHENNAI: Malaysia has the most restrictive laws on women migrant workers, with many preferring to avoid deportation by working illegally, ignoring abuse and labour law violations, Reuters reports quoting a new global study on female workers.
The report, released by an alliance of companies, universities and civil society organisations, cites the requirement of female migrant workers to take a pregnancy test prior to departure from their home country, and on a yearly basis thereafter.
- Category: News
PETALING JAYA: Two food and beverage associations representing over 21,000 members have called on Putrajaya to relax immigration regulations to allow foreign workers to serve as front-liners in restaurants and coffee shops.
Although it is common to see foreigners employed as waiters and cashiers, especially in the Klang Valley, this actually goes against immigration rules which stipulate that foreigners can only work as cooks.
According to Immigration Department director-general Mustafar Ali, restaurants and coffee shops are not allowed to hire foreigners as front-liners.
But Malaysia-Singapore Coffee Shop Proprietors’ General Association president Ho Su Mong said the ruling needed to be re-examined as there was a mismatch between regulations and reality.
“If foreigners can only work as cooks, it’ll be hard for coffee shops and restaurants to do business. It’s just not practical.”
Ho said while Malaysians were willing to work in coffee shops and eateries overseas, this wasn’t the case in the country.
“There are many Malaysians who work in coffee shops and restaurants in Singapore, but look at the exchange rate. If they are paid S$1,000, after the currency conversion, they are bringing home almost RM3,000.
“How can we match that in Malaysia? How can we pay RM2,000 for a waiter or waitress?”
Ho said the government should consider relaxing the laws and making it easier for foreign workers to be brought in.
T Muthusamy, president of the Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas), said many of his 1,300 members were struggling due to a shortage of workers. He urged the government to review the policy of allowing foreigners to only work as cooks.
“For a restaurant which opens for 18 hours, you need at least 15 to 20 workers. Not all workers will be working every day as they need their off days, and then there are times they fall sick.”
He said for some of his members, the situation is so dire that they have to hire students to work part-time or even get their relatives to help out.
“In the Klang Valley alone, around 50 of my members’ restaurants have either closed, reduced their operating hours or downsized their operations because there just aren’t enough locals who want to work in eateries and coffee shops.”
Attitude of local workers a problem
Ho said given a choice, eatery owners would prefer to hire locals over foreigners, as they wouldn’t have to pay levies. Locals also have a better understanding of the country’s culture, customs and languages.
“But these local workers have a ‘tidak apa’ (nonchalant) attitude. One day they’ll turn up for work and for the next two days, they’ll go missing.
“Foreign workers are hardworking, reliable and willing to learn.”
Although working at a coffee shop or restaurant was a humble job, Ho said, it offered a decent wage.
For one, he said, coffee shops, like other businesses, paid minimum wages. But more often than not, workers would get slightly more than RM1,000 in the peninsula and RM920 in East Malaysia in minimum wages.
“We often pay them overtime. In Penang, my members pay an extra RM30 an hour if you have to work beyond the eight-hour mark,” he said, adding that other benefits included staff meals and lodging.
He also dismissed the opinions of those who considered coffee shop jobs “low-class”.
He said while most start off by serving food or washing dishes, there was much for them to learn, including on food preparation, running a profitable business and bookkeeping.
“I have a friend in Kuching who started off working in a coffee shop, serving food and drinks after finishing high school.
“Now, he owns four coffee shops. So don’t look down on those working in a coffee shop. There are opportunities if you work hard.”