Thursday, January 31, 2013

Foreign workers will now have to pay levy as in 1992 - a great injustice for workers

The rationale behind getting employers to bear the levy was to discourage them from employing foreigners.... - Bernama, - Star, 16/4/2009
On 1/4/2009, the Malaysian government firmly put a stop on employers recovering levy they paid to bring in and employ migrant workers from migrant workers through wage deductions. 

But, now it seems that they have yet again changed their minds... allowing employers to recover the levy from migrant workers. Why? Because employers did not want to comply with the Minimum Wage Order to pay all workers a minimum wage of RM900-00....

 Is the Malaysian government concerned about Malaysian workers at all? For now, they freed employers from paying levy themselves. So, employers will again be freed from the 'market forces' that will benefit workers - market forces that would effectively cause just increases in wages that will benefit local workers.

The preference of migrant workers is also because they can be very easily exploited by the employer. Terminate them wroingfully, don't pay wages or cheat them of their overtime - and the migrant worker effectively has no recourse to justice. If they file a complaint at the Labour Department or the Industrial Relations Department or their cases are pending, the Malaysian government just cancels their work permit/pass having total disregard to justice... and the migrants have to leave the country. End result, employers that cheat them or wrongfully terminate them get off scott-free - they cannot do this to Malaysian workers. 

Thanks to what this BN cabinet do, they have not only discriminated against migrant workers - but also has weakened the prospect of Malaysian workers getting better wages and working conditions. 

Was the Malaysian Trade Union Congress(MTUC) that represents all workers in Malaysia even consulted before the Cabinet made this decision? Were the migrant workers consulted? 

 Or, this just another "LISTEN...LISTEN...LISTEN TO ME..." kind of decision. People were not even aware that the government was considering such a move. Ultimately, what the government is doing is denying migrant workers minimum wages, is it not. (And employers will say, if that is the case better hire a foreign worker rather than a local worker?)

Foreign workers will now have to pay levy as in 1992
7:09PM Jan 30, 2013       
The cabinet today decided that with immediate effect, foreign workers will now have to pay their levy fees, which was previously borne by their employers.

husni eon bank function 120310 ahmad husniIn a statement, Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah (left) said that the imposition of levy on foreign workers was first introduced in 1992, where it was imposed to finance public amenity-related projects like the construction of clinics, roads, and other services for Malaysians.

Beginning April 1, 2009, the government had decided that the levy for foreign workers is to be borne by the employers. This decision was made to control the influx of foreign workers at that time. Despite this, various efforts to improve on this matter were taken by the government through its six-point programme, with better management and control of the foreign workers.

Beginning Jan 1 of this year, Ahmad Husni said that the government has imposed the minimum wage onto foreign, as well as local workers, whose wages see an increase of between 30 to 50 percent of overall pay - that is, from RM600 to RM700 monthly wages, the total amount has now come up to RM900 a month.

"With its implementation, all workers will receive overtime, and they can receive between RM1,200 to RM1,500 a month," he added.

"To reduce the rising costs faced by employers, especially the small- and medium-sized industries, the cabinet today decided that the levy imposed on foreign workers in 1992, is to be enforced back, with the foreigners paying the levy instead.

"This policy is to be implemented with immediate effect for all new foreign workers, or those who are renewing their work permit or visitor's pass (temporary work)," he said in a statement.

Ahmad Husni added that the levy imposed would not be a burden to them as they are charged between RM34.16 and RM154.16 a month, compared to the rise of their monthly income which could be anywhere between RM300 to RM500 a month.- Malaysiakini, 30/1/2013, Foreign workers will now have to pay levy as in 1992

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