PM: Single hiring system for foreign workers

By P PREM KUMAR / Pic By BERNAMA

The government will establish a single hiring system for foreign workers that will not be based on the countries of origin, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the government has decided to set up a common system in order to deal with the problem of illegal foreign workers in the country.

“Bangladesh, Nepal and others will use the same system,” Dr Mahathir said at a press conference after chairing a meeting on foreign workers in Parliament yesterday.

The PM said the government has suspended the current system of 10 agents authorised for the recruitment of workers from Bangladesh and is looking at opening it up to all agents instead.

“This, however, has resulted in a monopolistic situation with some charging as high as RM20,000.

“So, we want to open it up to all agents and allow competition,” said Dr Mahathir.

More than 10,000 Bangladeshi workers have been brought into the country under the system since late 2016, while more than 100,000 are awaiting their turn.

Some of the 10 authorised agents were reported to be fly-by-night companies created solely to rake in money by playing the middlemen between the workers and their prospective employers in Malaysia.

The PM said the government will form an independent committee chaired by either a top government official, former judge or secretary general under the Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis.

“This is to have an overview on the policies and management of foreign workers.”

“We need to address these problems. We need the committee to address the issues,” Dr Mahathir said.

He said a ministerial joint committee between the Home Ministry and the Human Resources Ministry will also be set up.

According to Dr Mahathir, the government will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nepal to address the issue of foreign workers.

“We want to have a government-to-government agreement just like we have with Bangladesh, but the system will be the same,” he said.

Last month, the government of Nepal barred its workers from coming to Malaysia with immediate effect.

The Nepalese government expressed its unhappiness with the “restrictive” immigration requirements its workers have to face before they can be employed in the country.

This includes having to go through a private company for security and medical check-ups as part of the visa requirement.