Govt plans to bring home more Malaysians working abroad with PLWS

by LYDIA NATHAN / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

THE government is looking at bringing more skilled Malaysians who are working overseas to serve the country with the implementation of the Productivity-Linked Wage System (PLWS).

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran (picture) such a system could encourage the group to come home as productivity and wages are among the factors that keep these workers abroad.

“There are currently some 700,000 skilled workers who work overseas. We want them to come back. We need to have a challengeable wage system or increase the wages to attract them.

“Productivity is also another way. We want more Malaysians to invest in our own country. Malaysian workers have contributed to so many countries and economies, so I think it is time for them to come back here and help kickstart our own economy,” he told reporters at the Productivity-Linked Wage System (PLWS) 2018 Awards Day in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

PLWS is a mechanism to determine the annual wage increase for outstanding employees, in addition to improving productivity and profitability of companies.

The system has been implemented since 1996 after the National Labour Advisory Council – comprising the Malaysian Employers Federation, Malaysian Trades Union Congress and the Human Resources Ministry – agreed to establish the Guidelines on Wage Reform System.

Kulasegaran said the PLWS has shown its effectiveness after 84,249 companies had been implementing the system involving 4.1 million workers, as of August last year.

“The government has targeted 87,000 companies to implement the system by 2020, and a target of 85,000 employers to adopt the exercise which will benefit 3.9 million employees by 2020,” he said.

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran said employers who could not afford to pay the foreign workers levy of RM10,000 per year are encouraged to send the workers back to their countries of origin before coming back to Malaysia again legally.

“We understand that these employers want their skilled workers to stay in their respective companies and we have no objections to that.

“However, this is the law. It states there is a cooling period after 10 years before the workers can come back,” he said.

He added the levy for these foreign workers is set at RM1,850 per person when they return to Malaysia, which will be borne by the employer.

In the meantime, Kulasegaran said the ministry plans to extend the Social Security Organisation (Socso) coverage for all foreign workers.

“We want to bring that into our system, so that there are more accountability and safety for the workers,” he added.