MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, August 19, 2022

Labour DG to be 'single window' for hiring migrant workers


Human Resources Minister M Saravanan will introduce several migrant workers’ monitoring mechanisms, starting at the approval stage, where all applications are to go through a “single window” at the highest office of the Labour Department, effective Sept 1.

Saravanan (above) said the “single window” would be the office of the Labour Department director-general currently held by Asri Ab Rahman.

“Now we are able to create a single window and nobody can come into the country for employment without the director-general’s approval,” he said.

He said since the recruitment and management of migrant workers now fell under the purview of his ministry alone, they would develop a digital mechanism to identify workers who have entered through other means instead of the “single window.

“The single window will also address human trafficking elements where migrants seeking employment in Malaysia enter as tourists,” he explained during a live dialogue session today hosted by the Council of National Professors on the issues involving migrant workers in Malaysia.

Saravanan said he had also abolished the ministers’ power to execute quota approvals for migrant workers, explaining that it was senseless as it was labour officers on the ground who would know better as they do site visits.

In addition, he also said government-registered employment agencies could no longer play the role of the employer because this could lead to elements of forced labour where wages were not paid on time.

“They can only facilitate the recruitment process,” the Tapah MP clarified.

Better living standards for migrants

Saravanan said the ministry was also developing several migrant workers’ monitoring methods to improve Malaysia’s standing in the people trafficking report published by the US to address stigma.

He would start by addressing two key problem areas, which were workers’ accommodation and the timely payment of their wages.

Saravanan estimated that the country needed 27,0000 Central Labour Quarters (CLQ) to house 1.5 million workers and steps have been taken to develop them in compliance with the Employees’ Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodation and Amenities Act 1990.

“Unconducive workers’ accommodation is the main reason Malaysia is under the forced labour spotlight and we are focusing on the construction of dormitories which could double up as a form of identification.

“If a migrant worker was not living in a CLQ, he is not documented. Employers who provide accommodation that doesn’t comply with the law can be fined up to RM 50,000,” he reiterated past warnings.

Meanwhile, Saravanan said the e-wages online system would address timely payment of wages of local and migrant workers.

He also said this would address the prevalence of migrant workers absconding from their present employment at the risk of becoming undocumented, to seek other employment because of non-payment of wages.

Another scheme in the pipeline was a savings fund designed just for migrant workers so they would have sufficient funds when they return to their homeland.

“We are looking into ways for migrant workers to have access to the fund only from their home country which would give them an incentive to return home, especially after a long work stint in Malaysia,” he said. - Mkini

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