Local job seekers migrate to Australia, S. Korea on high minimum pay

by ASILA JALIL / pic by AFP

HIGH minimum wages in other countries are attracting locals to migrate abroad in search of a better pay.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Awang Hashim said Malaysians are willing to work abroad, especially in developed countries, due to the high minimum wages such as A$20.33 per hour in Australia, which is equivalent to RM63.44, and US$8 (RM33.21) per hour in South Korea.

“These high rates have indirectly attracted local employees to work in other countries,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He was responding to a question from Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya who asked for the minimum wage rates in other countries that have caused many Malaysians to work illegally in Australia and South Korea.

To overcome the issue of exploitation against Malaysians who seek work overseas, the ministry, via Private Employment Agencies Act 1981 (Act 246), has stated that any company that wants to recruit local job seekers to work abroad needs to obtain category B or C licence under the Act.

“Under Act 246, no one is allowed to do recruitment activities unless given a licence under the Act. Based on the provision, all licensed private employment agencies have to recruit workers legally either within the country or abroad.

“Job seekers who wish to work abroad are advised to use the services of licensed private employment agencies under the ministry,” he said.

To date, Awang said no complaints regarding exploitation of Malaysian workers abroad have been made against any licensed private employment agencies under Act 246.

Meanwhile, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Reezal Merican Naina Merican said the ministry will conduct a study to see if it is suitable for provisions that touch on racial preference to be added into the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).

He said the matter requires a detailed review with regard to the local context.

“On the discrimination issue, is true. I have heard and seen it myself, but we need to conduct a detailed review on the matter to take into account the local circumstances,” he said in a response to a query from Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming.

He cited the US as an example which has a Fair Housing Act 1968 which prohibits any advertising for rental of premises that includes racial preference.

“However in Malaysia, when we talk about discrimination, it is more of preference. It would be awkward to have laws that restrict the rights of property owners’ and their preferences.

“We will conduct a research to see if it is suitable to include the element in the Act,” Reezal Merican said.

On the RTA, he said the ministry is in the middle of amending the Act, which was initiated in June 2019, to be presented in Parliament by July next year.

The proposed amendments on the RTA Bill was presented to the Cabinet on June 23 this year and received the nod to be presented in Parliament.

“The ministry is reviewing the early draft for the RTA Bill and preparing documents for the procedure to implement the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA),” he said.

The RIA will be conducted together with the Malaysia Productivity Corp to identify and evaluate the impact of the proposed amendments for the RTA Bill.