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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Primas wants Home Ministry meet on ‘confusing’ foreign workers SOP

The Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) is looking to meet with the Home Ministry to clarify “confusing” standard operating procedures (SOP) related to the intake of foreign workers for restaurants.
Primas president T Muthusamy (above) said the restaurant sector had to go through three ministries in the hiring process for foreign workers to serve as cooks or restaurant staff.
“We welcome the decision by the government to re-introduce the foreign workers replacement system for restaurants after the intake was frozen by the previous government.
“Even so, we still face difficulties getting workers as the SOP is still confusing and unclear,” he said to reporters following a Primas annual general meeting in Brickfields in Kuala Lumpur, yesterday.
The cabinet had formed the Special Committee on Foreign Worker Management last August to streamline the country’s foreign worker intake policies.
It was reported in March that a report on the hiring of foreign workers was soon to be completed.
Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution, meanwhile, had said his ministry was preparing a working paper on the matter.
This was as the government had received many complaints on the 2009 suspension of the intake of foreign labour, especially in the wholesale, retail industries as well as the restaurant sectors.
Saifuddin said a committee was to be formed to study the suspension.
Muthusamy said Primas members with over 1,160 restaurants across the country faced difficulties in hiring workers as the process involved three ministries - the Human Resources Ministry, the Home Ministry plus the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry.
“Before this, should a worker return to his home country, we would just need to bring a check-out memo and his passport to the Immigration Department to hire a replacement.
“Now, we must get verification from the Human Resources Ministry before applying to the Home Ministry.
“At the Home Ministry, there is a one-stop agency handled by the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry. Most of the time, the application is rejected as the ministry adheres to a different SOP, which is the quota system,” he claimed.
He also touched on a “new condition” which he claimed stipulated the hiring of one local worker for every three foreign worker applications.
Malaysiakini has contacted the Home Ministry and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry for their response on the matter.
Mutusamy also said he welcomed the new restaurant staff category introduced but reiterated that it was complicated by the confusing SOP.
“Primas calls on the Home Ministry to hold a meeting with all NGOs from the restaurant industry so as to overcome this confusion,” he said.
Last May, Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran denied a suspension on the intake of foreign workers into Malaysia.
Instead, he said applications were rejected on the grounds of the employers’ non-compliance with the regulations set by the government.
National news agency Bernama previously reported that up to April 2019, some 796 applications were received. From this, 216 applications involving 1,840 foreign workers were supported.
Of the 580 applications rejected, 517 applications were denied due to non-compliance while 63 were due to employers not being qualified to hire foreign staff.
Even so, the minister had in June admitted that he was unsure of the reasons why the intake of foreign workers was still suspended for several subsectors in the services industry. - Mkini

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