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M. Kulasegaran: Malaysia looks into changing foreign labour practices

Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran yesterday (20 June) revealed the intention to reduce dependence on middlemen when it comes to managing foreign labourers. Such middlemen include concession company My E.G. Services (Myeg), Bernama reported.

Speaking to reporters after the handing of a cheque for Tabung Harapan Malaysia by the Malaysian Indian Metal Traders and Recyclers Association (MIMTA), amounting RM50,000, he said: "The government is taking steps with not only Myeg, but also other middleman organisations."

In Kulasegaran's opinion, those organisations "serve no purpose", saying: "You already got a government, why do you have a parallel government? We have enough civil servants to handle the matter. That is what we are seeing in a big picture, that is what we want to achieve. We will come with formative policy very soon."

Meanwhile, the HR minister also revealed that Malaysian government will meet with its Singaporean counterparts to discuss best practices in managing foreign labourers.

According to reports by Yahoo news, the Malaysian government intends to see if certain mechanisms Singapore uses can be implemented locally.

On the challenges Malaysia faces in handling foreign workers, he elaborated: "Some foreign workers who come here tend to run off once in Malaysia, or otherwise run off to work for other employers (whom they were not contracted to in the first place)."

Complimenting Singapore's foreign labour management as 'fantastic', Kulasegaran observed Singapore seldom face issues with workers running away and that employers have a sufficient labour pool from which to draw workers.

He added: "Currently we don't have a system that can overcome these issues. So our attaché at the Malaysian high commission in Singapore will continue to discuss with their government."

Kulasegaran also said he would take MIMTA's appeal for more foreign menial labourers into account, adding: "MIMTA faces a situation where only 50% of their applications for foreign labour is approved. It has been going on for seven years.

"We will see as to how we can help them, although as it stands there are too many (foreign labourers) coming into the country now and we do not know the total number of foreign workers here."

According to Malaysia's Home Ministry there are about 1.78 million (1,781,598) legal foreign workers in the country as of June 30.

Photo / 123RF

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