Saturday, May 22, 2010

Employers of Domestic Workers, and small business workers should pay a lower levy...

Should levy paid by employers who want to hire foreign workers be increased? Yes, it should - but more importantly, there must be a minimum wage set for the various jobs in plantations, factories and construction sites generally - and the wages must be a suitable living wage for a Malaysian worker. Then Malaysian workers may be interested in taking up these jobs. If the employer still wants to employ migrant workers, then naturally he must pay this levy. [Levy was to discourage employers in Malaysia from employing foreign labour rather than local workers]

However, when it comes to domestic workers - I believe that the levy must be reduced.

When it comes to coffee shops, restaurants and smaller businesses employing foreign workers especially in the smaller towns, the levy must be reduced.

And, if there is levy, then maybe migrant workers should also have equal access to the facilities provided in Malaysia including healthcare.  It is odd that foreign persons are charged much higher to access government healthcare facilities. It is better for the sick to seek and get medical treatment soonest - not only, is it humane but it is also for general good of the community. Sickness spread -- and it indiscriminately spread to all persons, irrespective whether the person is a citizen or a non-citizen. Hence, healthcare must be available to all free....or at a very nominal rate. Now a foreigner pays RM50 for registration to see a doctor, whilst the Malaysian pays RM1 - and the foreigner has to pay for every other thing as well, and no treatment/surgery, etc until money is paid. [If the domestic worker, as an example is paid RM500 - this is 10% of the monthly wage...just to see the doctor, and this is certainly wrong.]

PETALING JAYA: Various organisations are against the Government's move to increase the levy on foreign workers, arguing that the extra costs will only be passed on to consumers.

Real Estate and Housing Developers Association president Datuk Ng Seing Liong said it was not the right time to increase the levy as developers were in the midst of adopting the Industrial Building System (IBS).

“It's definitely going to be a huge increase in costs for property buyers. It is counter-productive. We are implementing the IBS to eventually reduce dependence on foreign labour, which shows that we are working with the Government,” he said.

The IBS is a system in which construction materials and parts are pre-fabricated in factories and not on-site by labourers, which was the usual practice.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who chairs the Cabinet Committee on Foreign and Illegal Workers, had announced on Thursday that the levy for foreign workers would be increased next year.

Amnesty would also be granted to illegal foreign workers to return to their own countries without facing action.

Malaysian Foreign Maids Agencies Association president Alwi Bavutty said the levy for the industry should not be raised from the present RM360 yearly.

“Employers now have to pay RM550 or more for monthly salaries and this will add to their burden,” he said, adding that many Malaysians had no choice but to hire maids.

Malaysian Indian Contractors Association president R. Muthiah said the move would increase the cost of bringing in foreign workers through Construction Labour Exchange Centre Bhd, a government-appointed agency.

However, he said the association accepted that any levy increase would need to be tolerated by the industry.
In Johor Baru, Malaysian Indian Business Association president K. Sivakumar said the Government should not make such decisions without a contingency plan.

“If such decisions are rushed, the country's economy will be affected because many industries depend on foreign workers,” he said, describing any such move as “untimely”.

“Most locals are not up to doing hard labour or do not possess the skills to perform the jobs that foreign workers do,” he said, adding that there should be more night schools to train local workers in various skills.- Star, 22/5/2010, Concern over higher levy on foreign workers

No comments: