Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said the requirement for foreign workers to have valid work permits in order to be re-employed to another employer defeats the overall purpose of redeployment.
Its executive director, Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said many foreign workers would be unable to be redeployed based on this requirement as existing employers would only release their foreign workers after the terms of their permits expired.
“MEF supports the government’s decision to allow the re-employment of foreign workers still in the country and who are no longer required by their existing employers.
“However, based on Human Resources Minister (MOHR) Datuk Seri M. Saravanan’s statement, the conditions for re-employment are that the foreign workers in question must have a valid work permit and the re-deployment is restricted to within the same sector,” he said in a statement here today.
It was reported that the MOHR had given employers the flexibility to hire foreign workers laid off by previous employers if they do not get any response from local workers. However, it urged employers to give priority to locals when filling these vacancies.
Shamsuddin added that restricting the re-employment of foreign workers to within the same sector would not optimise the utilisation of foreign workers who are still in the country as demand varied according to sectors.
“For example, there is a huge demand in the agricultural and plantation sectors where employers are retaining all their foreign workers. As there is currently a freeze on new foreign worker intake, these sectors will only be able to get workers from other sectors,” he said.
He urged the government to allow foreign workers, including those whose work permits had expired but eligible for renewal, to be re-employed across all industrial sectors.
Agensi Pekerjaan IRC Sdn Bhd, an accredited local workers agency in Penang, said although the industries would benefit from this experience foreign workers, giving local workers the opportunity would be more ideal and cost saving.
“Industries would need to pay for foreign workers’ levy, accommodation and transport whereas for local workers, industry do not need to pay these.”
“With current economic situation, local workers will be cheaper alternative than foreign workers and we should be helping deserving Malaysians to find their income and help our country to recover from this pandemic.”
“We are not saying foreign workers are not good, but we should look to reduce unemployment rate which currently stood at 4.9% as of June 2020.”
“We have been too dependency on foreign workers and this may cause future foreign investment to the country if we keep relying to foreign workers as it will add to the cost.”
Adapted from Malay Mail, 15 Aug 2020