Foreign workers recruitment start here

Manpower Minister Lim Swee Say said that Singapore looks out for the welfare of foreign workers in its midst through laws that protect their basic rights (\"S\'pore \'ensures welfare of foreign workers\'\"; Oct 27).

But, after talking to some of the workers, I find that they have no job security and minimal insurance coverage.

One worker told me that, apart from paying the agent in their home country, migrant workers have to pay a hefty amount to the employer for their visa. I was given to understand that this fee is shared between the employer and the Singapore agent.

 

When they arrive in Singapore, some of them are given another contract, and the terms and conditions differ from the contract they signed in their home country.

How is it that the contract can be changed once the worker arrives in Singapore? The original contract should be upheld.

I once met a young woman working at the airport. She said she was promised a certain salary but when she arrived here, a new contract with a lower salary was handed to her. She had no choice but to sign or else she would be sent back.

Some employers do not pay their workers on a regular basis. When the workers remind their employer, they are given a warning and threatened with being sent back.

All this must be stopped as soon as possible.

Workers must be given a translation of the contract in their own language.

Employers should not be allowed to change the contract when the worker arrives in Singapore.

There should also be stiffer penalties for employers who house workers in inhumane conditions.

The Manpower Ministry should make it a point to call some workers from time to time, to interview them privately about their housing and wages.

This way, they would not fear talking about their unhappiness.

Malaysia resumed hiring labourers from Bangladesh through a government-to-government channel in 2013. Can we not do so too?

I hope that the migrant workers will have a better future in the years to come.

Shamim Moledina (Ms)

By Nuradzimmah Daim - 28 October 2015 @ 1:27 PM KUALA LUMPUR: A total of 518 foreign workers’ death were reported at the construction sector since 2006, the Dewan Rakyat was told today. Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib said according to statistics recorded until Sept 30, nationality with the highest deaths were Bangladesh (216) and Indonesia (64). \"This figure only covers foreign workers at construction sector. There are about 1.9 million legal foreign workers in various sectors in Malaysia,\" he said in reply to a question by Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (PSM-Sungai Siput). Ismail said a total of 5,340 cases of accidents at construction sites were recorded by the ministry up to September this year. This, he said, compared to the 3,670 cases involving 131 compounds and 57 cases brought to court last year. \"The ministry, through the Department of Safety and Health, is committed to ensure safety, the workers’ welfare and public in the surrounding and prevent accidents at construction sites. \"Our efforts include regular meetings with related agencies including Safety and Health Council, Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC), as well as legal actions and regular checks at construction sites.\" Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2015/10/518-foreign-workers-deaths-construction-site-2006

PORT DICKSON (The Star/Asia News Network) - More Malaysians will be encouraged to take up jobs they previously shunned once the minimum wage is increased, says Malaysia Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

Liow said the move, proposed by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Tun Razak in his Budget 2016 speech last Friday, is also in line with Malaysia\'s goal to become a high-income nation by 2020.

Najib proposed increasing the minimum wage for private sector workers in Peninsula Malaysia from RM900 to RM1,000 (S$295 to S$329), and from RM800 to RM920 (S$263 to $302) in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan from July 1 next year.

The raise will not apply to domestic workers.

\"We have been talking about reducing the number of foreign workers in Malaysia, but it is unfortunate that the numbers have increased to millions now,\" Liow told reporters after opening the refurbished Telok Kemang MCA office in Port Dickson.

He said reducing Malaysia\'s dependence on foreign labour is important if the country wished to move from being a labour intensive to a high-tech nation.

Liow made the comments after he was asked to respond to the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers\'s (FMM) request to defer the minimum wage raise until the economy has stabilised for fear of its impact on small businesses.

FMM also said the government\'s move to increase the income ceiling for mandatory contribution to Socso (Social Security Organisation) from RM3,000 to RM4,000 was yet another increase in the cost of doing business particularly to small and medium enterprises.

Liow said the government had been talking about a need to cut the number of foreign workers long enough.

\"We gave the signal a long time ago. We need to start implementing this as the number of foreign workers has reached serious proportions,\" he added.

The government is reportedly mulling the setting up of a mechanism to reduce the remittances by foreign workers in Malaysia to their home countries in a bid to stem the outflow of the ringgit.

Sinchew Daily in a report today quoted sources as saying that under this scheme, foreign workers would be required to pay a part of their monthly salaries into a fund to be set up by the government.

Alternatively, their salaries would be deducted directly as a remittance to the fund, in a manner similar to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contributions.

“The government is aware that a large portion of the wages of foreign workers wage are sent back to their home countries, causing severe currency outflows that may affect Malaysia’s economy, hence the scheme was devised.

“The government is still determining the sum or percentage of salary that foreign workers need to pay, and when (including special circumstances) the workers can make withdrawals from the fund,” the source is quoted as saying.

The Chinese-language daily claimed that the National Economic Council has already discussed the scheme, and the cabinet has agreed to the scheme in principle.

Details still being studied

The rest is up to the Ministry of Home Affairs to determine the details of the scheme and how to implement it.

The daily also quoted Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed (photo) as saying that he is unable to reveal the details of the scheme, as the framework and details are still being studied.

However, Nur Jazlan said, the ministry may make an announcement on it soon.

The daily also quoted then Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan as saying that between January and September last year, foreign workers remitted about RM23.07 billion out of Malaysia through some 113 million transactions.

It said a government study has found that foreign workers remit about 80 percent of their salaries back to their home country for their family’s expenses.