Thursday, April 16, 2009

To keep roti canai prices down - let employers deduct levy they pay from workers wages?

When Malaysian employers wanted to hire foreign migrant workers - the government of Malaysia requires employers to pay a levy for each migrant worker that the employer employs. The reason was to encourage employers to employ LOCAL Malaysian workers....

But, suddenly we are hearing that we, Malaysians, especially Malaysian Workers have all the while been cheated...deceived...

WHY? Because apparently the government had allowed the employer to recover these 'levy' from the wages of their migrant workers - and this means that it was CHEAPER for the employer to employ foreign migrant workers. Maybe, all the other expenses expended in hiring and employing migrant workers was also recovered by deductions from their employee's wages...

Well, the law was clear about WAGES and permissible deductions in law - but alas the UMNO-led BN government hid this fact that they allowed employers of migrant workers to deduct 'levy'...and what else from the wages of migrant workers.

I have been looking for information about who should be paying levies - workers or employers, and if you go to the Labour Department/Ministries and Immigration Department/Ministries wevbsite - you find no information.

There are 2.4 million migrant workers in the country and this very important information of who pays for what with regard to migrant workers is missing...or not available. Employers have been known to pay workers 'zero' wages for months - stating that they are allowed to do so to recover levy, agents fees, airfare, etc...etc and migrant workers (not at fluent in our Malaysian languages and law) have 'no choice' but to go along with it. Complaints will result in sometimes 'sudden termination' ...and deportation --- or maybe arrest, detention, deportation..

This is so very wrong and definitely an injustice to workers.

Employers are now allowed, again, to deduct the cost of the levy from the wages of the their foreign workers until the expiry of their present visas, Labour Director-General Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim said Thursday.

Employers had been stopped from making that deduction from April 1. Making them bear the cost made them unhappy as it upset their budget.

The directive was, therefore, reversed by the Human Resources Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam Thursday following numerous appeals by employers, Ismail told Bernama.

However, Ismail explained that no deduction would be allowed for new employees registered after April 1 in line with the government's policy requiring employers from all sectors to bear the full cost of the levy from that cutoff date.

The rationale behind getting employers to bear the levy was to discourage them from employing foreigners, he said.

Nevertheless, Ismail hoped the new decision would lessen the burden of employers during this economic downturn.

Meanwhile, the Immigration Department has yet to implement the new levy rates for foreign workers in the manufacturing and services sectors because it had not been gazetted by the Home Ministry.

The new levy was doubled for workers in these two sectors from RM1,800 to RM3,600 a year.

Immigration Director-General Datuk Mahmood Adam told Bernama that the department expected to implement the new rates by May 1.

However, Bernama understands that the delay in gazetting the new rates was due to the numerous protests and appeals by employers from the affected sectors.

In fact the Indian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association had threatened to increase the price of Malaysian favourites, roti canai and teh tarik, if the new rates were implemented.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan welcomed the Human Resources Ministry's decision to allow employers to deduct the levy from the workers wages, saying this was a step in the right direction.

“This decision would greatly benefit employers who had thousands of foreign workers on their payroll.”

He hoped the government would review the proposed new levy rate and maintain the existing one at least until the economy improved.

"This will give some breathing space for employers and help them to put back their businesses on a stronger footing," he said. - Bernama, - Star, 16/4/2009 - Employers can deduct levy from wages, again

It is a great injustice when already lowly-paid migrant workers are forced to have levy (that ought to be paid by employers) deducted from their wages.

It is really unjust that they now have even more deducted from their wages - increased levies (taking note that save for one or 2 sectors, levies have just been doubled...). Surely, the workers that are already here cannot be suddenly burdened with additional 'deductions' to their wages.

Why do we allow these migrant workers to suffer MORE during this financial crisis - ....because we do not want the cost of 'roti canai' to go up...this is unacceptable.

We may all be going through tough times - but this unjust treatment of migrant unacceptable..

Employers who want to employ foreign migrant workers must PAY the levy, the agency fees, the cost of medical tests, and all payments imposed by the government....(and NOT be allowed to make deductions from worker's wages to recover them...)

Workers should be paid full wages - and deductions should only be for contributions towards some Social Security Fund (like SOCSO), or some pension/old-age scheme (like the EPF or KWSP), or for the payment of taxes.... nothing else.


Donplaypuks® said...

This is downright fraud!

And cheating the lowly paid at that. The Immigration Dept and Govt should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.

Stop this mugging NOW!!

I swear said...

Come on lah. The high prices of nasi kandar, roti cani, banana leaf curry rice is due to profiteering. Staff cost represents a small portion of operating expenses. Employers in the interest of profiteering have been deducting levy from workers' wages and will do so in future and this practise has never stopped even for one day.

One will be surprised at the profits that a average banana leaf curry rice, nasi kandar, nasi lemak and roti canai restaurant made in a year and there is no bad debt. Also I have yet to hear any of these restaurants been investigated for tax evasion. A little bird told me his boss made over a million a year and pays a little over RM3K taxes only and the business of this restaurant is no where the famous Pe.ita or Sy.d or K.yu.