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MEF: Lower costs of hiring legal foreign workers may curb illegal hiring

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As the crackdown on hiring illegal foreign manpower continues, the Malaysian Employer Federation (MEF) is of the opinion that heavy penalties are unlikely to deter small business from hiring foreigners without work permits – even with the recent call on courts to impose the maximum punishment for such offenders.

Speaking on the matter, MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan felt that unlike bigger businesses who will clean up their act, small businesses would not mind taking such a risk.

His comments come in the wake of a warning by immigration director-general Mustafar Ali that errant employers should be prepared to face punishment, including caning and fines of up to RM10,000, if found guilty of hiring illegal foreign workers.

Pointing out that the root cause of illegal foreign workers in Malaysia was the high cost of getting legal workers, Shamsuddin explained: “Both the employer and employee will have to spend thousands of ringgit to do this.”

He added that the workers don’t want to spend thousands and at the same time, employers are willing to take chances hiring illegals.

He felt that this root cause has to be dealt with by allowing the recruitment fee to be bearable and the hiring process to be simplified.

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