Thursday, January 15, 2015

With about 2.9 million documented migrants, MyEG will collect over RM100 million annually?

Well, Malaysia has now outsourced the work of the annual permit renewal to ONE private company, MyEG Services Bhd, as of 5th January 2015. All these renewals will now have to be done online. And for this service, a fee will have to paid to the said company - RM38 per worker per renewal. This is over and above all the payments being made for permit renewal to the government.

Previously, employers went to Immigration Departments to do this renewal of the annual permits. Some employers used agents to do this work - just like the 'runners' or 'agents' many of us use for the renewal of road tax.

So, if the government wanted to make the process simpler - i.e. by making employers apply for these renewals online, should it not have been done by the Immigration Department? Of course, the Immigration Department may have outsourced the application processing to third parties - but we will all still be dealing with the Immigration Department. Banks have outsourced check processing and online banking, but alas the customers still deal with the bank. Hence, this handing over to a private company is odd... and raises many questions.
'...Riot[Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem] said the dumping of foreign workers in Malaysia is worrying as they are some 5.8 million of whom only 2.9 million are legal workers...' - Bernama, 2/9/2014,Malaysian Workers Should Not Be Choosy Over Jobs - Riot 
Well, RM38 per worker for annual renewal, and Malaysia has about 2.9 million documented migrants, which means that MyEG Services Bhd will collect annually RM110.2 million as their service charges, and this is a lot of money, and it is almost guaranteed income. 
Is there anything wrong? Was there an open tender before this big money earning project was given to this private company? Who are the major shareholders of MyEG Services Bhd? Does the Malaysian government own this company, or at least a significant majority - for if yes, then the money(profits) will be flowing back to the government and to the people of Malaysia? 
Directors of MyEG website, we can get this information
Executive Director - Dato' Dr Norraesah Binti Haji Mohamad, former UMNO Supreme Council Memberfrom 2000 to 2013, former Senator... She holds 4,060,000 ordinary shares directly in the Company.
Executive Director -Dato' Raja Haji Munir Shah Bin Raja Mustapha - '...In 1997, he was elected to head the Tanjong UMNO Youth Division and subsequently appointed as the State UMNO Youth Information Chief until his tenure ended in 2004. He was appointed as a City Councilor in 1997, 1998, 2003 and 2004. During his tenure as a Councilor in Penang Island Municipal Council ("MPPP"), he served as Chairman and Commitiee Member in various standing commitiees overseeing legislatives and policy matiers within the jurisdiction of MPPP which covers the island of Penang.In 2008, he was elected as Deputy Head of the UMNO Tanjung Division, a position he held until early 2014....' - He holds 409,900 ordinary shares directly in the Company and 186,657,998 ordinary shares indirectly in the Company.
Managing Director - Wong Thean Soon...He holds 44,226,006 ordinary shares directly in the Company and 196,657,998 ordinary shares indirectly in the Company. 
There are several other non-executive Directors - visit the website and get more information of the Directors

There seem to be no current civil servants listed as Directors. No one from the Ministry. So, is it a government owned company?  
Look for more information - all written above is just based on the information that I managed to get from the internet. There may have been a call for tender - but I am unaware of this. 
It may be time that information such as majority shareholders in companies should also be clearly listed in websites. Also good if financial accounts are also listed. Information about workforce too will be good. 
Some of the said news reports are as follows:- We see that the employers and/or employer association seem to be unhappy. FOMCA has an opinion....but alas, we could not find any viewpoint of workers or their unions, or even MTUC on this matter. For the migrant worker, there seem to be little or no impact - after all the renewal of permits have always been the obligation of employers. It just seem to be a move from over-the-counter renewals to online renewals. ODD IS THAT THIS WORK HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO A PRIVATE COMPANY WHO NOW WILL BE CHARGING EXTRA(RM38 PER WORKER PER RENEWAL) FOR THEIR SERVICES. I believe that this work should have remained with the government - the Immigration Department or better still and rightly to the Human Resource Ministry. The Human Resource Ministry would have also been able to also simultaneously monitor whether there have been any worker and trade union rights violations. Yes, it should be the Human Resource Ministry that looks into all aspects of labour - even permit renewal.
Migrant workers come to Malaysia usually for a period of 3 - 5 years - why are these work permits not granted for the entire duration - rather than year by year. Annual renewals allow employers the possibility of 'not renewing' and hence violating the contract/agreement between the migrant worker and the employer. 
When there is non-renewal, Malaysia sadly is just too interested in getting the migrant worker to leave the country immediately - not investigating into the matter and determining whether the employer has been guilty of 'wrongful dismissal' of the worker, or even whether the affected worker has any outstanding claims against the employer. More reason why it should the Human Resource Ministry who should be in charge of worker annual permit renewal...

MyEG explains foreign worker permit renewals

PETALING JAYA: The Immigration Department has expanded the scope of implementation of the online system for foreign workers PL(KS) permit renewal through MyEG Services Bhd starting Jan 5, 2015 to include verifying and analysing the database of foreign workers. 

The primary objectives of this system are to identify the legal foreign workers in the country and the employers who knowingly or unknowingly employ illegal foreign workers, as well as to provide a more convenient and efficient way to transact.

"MyEG's role is not only to renew the permits but to compile, verify, maintain, update and analyse the database of legal foreign workers, illegal foreign workers, authorised employers of foreign workers, employers who unknowingly have foreign workers registered under their name and employers of illegal foreign workers," MyEG said in a statement. 

MyEG will capture digital biometrics of the employers and employer's representatives. Analytics will be conducted on the above data to generate intelligence on trends causing the proliferation of illegal foreign workers as well as employers who have a disproportionate number of foreign workers absconding. 

In addition, MyEG will also operate a crowd-source platform to gather intelligence on employers who employ illegal foreign workers.

MyEG has the responsibility to ensure valid insurance is in place before processing the transaction as MyEG will be liable for any non-compliance. 

"Insurance Guarantee, Foreign Workers Compensation Scheme & Foreign Workers Hospitalisation & Surgical Scheme may be purchased through any insurance agent including MyEG. MyEG will bear the cost of deportation of illegal foreign workers detained."

The RM38 fee is for the above scope of responsibility as well as to deliver the renewed permits to the home or offices of our users with biometric verification.

Foreign workers PL(KS) permit renewals can be done three months before expiry. Hence employers are encouraged to renew earlier to avoid late renewal that may lead to permit expiry penalty. The current renewal process online does not require any interviews to be done.

Payment for this service can be made using credit card, online banking or cheque/bank draft. - The Sun Daily,  12/1/2015, MyEG explains foreign worker permit renewals

MyEG appointment not good for business

KUALA LUMPUR: The implementation of the mandatory online renewal of foreign workers work permits (PLKS) and the appointment of MY EG Services Bhd (MyEG) as the sole provider for the service is a bad precedence and against the Competition Act 2010, said The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM).

"The business community is extremely concerned that the government is setting up a bad precedence by compelling all employers into having to deal with a sole private entity on a mandatory basis, and having to pay exorbitant service charges, without the option of an alternative system," its secretary-general Datuk Low Kian Chuan pix told reporters at a press conference yesterday.

He said the Competition Act, which was enacted by the government, prohibits anti-competition agreements and the abuse of a dominant position in the market.

"The spirit of the Competition Act is to provide a level playing field for all players in the market. The current PLKS situation makes MyEG more than dominant, it is in fact a monopoly," he added.

ACCCIM also noted that other government electronic services provided by MyEG such as MyKad replacement, renewal of driving license and payment of summons, are not mandatory and over-the-counter options are still available to the public. 

Low said most of the service charges imposed by MyEG on the government's electronic services are also priced at a nominal rate while the RM38 service charge per foreign worker for the renewal of the foreign workers permit is "extremely exorbitant".

"With the estimated number of 2.5 million legal foreign workers in Malaysia, MyEG would be collecting a total of RM95 million of service fees per year. This amount, on an annual basis, is far in excess of what is required to set up and operate an online system, even if it is to include collecting the database of foreign workers (which should already exist in the Ministry of Home Affairs' records given that each worker is individually approved by the authorities), or to undertake biometric verification," he said.

He added that the service charge for online renewal should be at a nominal rate to attract employers to use the online system.

The RM38 is on top of the RM125 processing fee per worker payable to the ministry for the renewal of foreign workers work permit. The processing fee was increased in October last year, from RM50 per worker previously.

According to Low, this adds on to the rising cost of labour due to the spike in costs arising from the imposition of several policies and regulations by the authorities such as the minimum wage policy, increase in foreign workers' levy and imposition of hospitalisation insurance.

Although business communities welcome the online renewal system, Low said it should not be made mandatory.

"The counter service and online service must co-exist together to provide employers with the requisite options depending on the circumstances of the applicants, as well as to have a backup system in the event one of the systems were to crash for whatever reasons, or when system upgrades necessitate a shutdown," he said.

ACCCIM has proposed for the re-opening of public counter service as an alternate option and a revision of the online service charge. It is expected to submit a memorandum of understanding to the ministry today.

MyEG's share price fell 2.62% to close at RM2.60 yesterday, with a total of 8.17 million shares traded. - The Sun Daily, 13/1/2015, MyEG appointment not good for business

MEF: Immigration not listening to our grouses

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) will submit a letter to the Immigration Department to find out the rationale behind the new online system for Foreign Workers Permit (PLKS) through MyEG.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the immigration department should have allowed employers to try out the system and gauge its effectiveness before implementing it.

“We are not against the implementation of the system but rather how the authorities handled it including the employers who show up at the department,” he told theSun, adding that the federation has been flooded with hundreds of calls daily since the system was introduced on Jan 5.

A check by theSun at the immigration counters at Putrajaya and Damansara showed that employers were still showing up there. 

The counters for manual PLKS applications and renewals were closed but MyEG staff were seen teaching employers how to use the online system.

Shamsuddin said since meeting immigration department top officers is not going to be easy, it is better that we submit a letter on our views regarding the system.

He said employers are very unhappy that they have to pay RM38 for each online transaction or application.

“It’s not cheap. It’s a lot of money as employers handle a lot of applications,” he said of the levy.

Several employers met at the immigration office in Damansara said if the authorities do not listen to their grievances, they would have to file official complaints with the relevant authorities.

“It looks like no one is interested with our complaints. We tried approaching the immigration officers but they just tell us to learn how to use the online system,” said a company director who wished to be identified only as Ismail.

On the three days needed for the online applications to be processed, he felt it was too long.

Another employer lamented that he had to scan his workers’ insurance cover notes and attached them to the applications. “It’s so complicating. Imagine how tough it is for those who are not IT-savvy.”

Several attempts by theSun to reach Immigration Director-General Datuk Mustafa Ibrahim since Monday were unsuccessful.

An immigration officer at the Damansara office said the employers’ grievances were being looked into.
Meanwhile, Sungai Petani MP Datuk Johari Abdul did not agreed with immigration department’s explanation that the online system was introduced to ease congestion.

He said the department had expedited the processing of applications manually using the latest technologies.

“It’s just a matter of management,” he said, adding that one wonders why the online system was outsourced. - The Sun Daily, 5/1/2015, MEF: Immigration not listening to our grouses

Fomca hits out at immigration dept over online service dispute

PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) has hit out against the immigration department's move to continue registering foreign workers using the new online system for Foreign Workers Permit Renewal (PLKS) through My E. G. Services Bhd (MyEG).
Its deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the process should be flexible in terms of providing the consumers a choice in registering at the counters at various points until the they are comfortable using the online application.
"This system should be done gradually to allow consumers the choice by registering manually or through the new alternative platform provided. This is because some of them are not Internet savvy and may find it difficult during the adjustment period," he told theSun.
He also agreed to a statement issued by the Home Ministry which stated that by using the renewal process online it would mean agents will cease to exist in taking advantage of the situation.
However, Mohd Yusof stressed it would still give an opportunity for a third party in seizing their chance to "facilitate" those who are still unaware of the new system which was launched on Jan 5 besides helping those who are not IT savvy or know the system well.
"More reason why it should be implemented gradually rather than force consumers to use it now," he said.
He added that there are also areas which does not have Internet connection which will pose a problem to consumers.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) had also voiced their concerns recently and told theSun that it will submit a letter to the Immigration Department to seek an explanation as to the rationalisation of its implementation of the system. - The Sun Daily, 11/1/2015, Fomca hits out at immigration dept over online service dispute

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