Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Richard Riot - still Minister of Human Resources? Or now it is Zahid Hamidi? 1.5 million new Migrant Workers?

Human Resource in Malaysia - Worker Policy - Migrant Workers(Foreign Workers) - well, all this comes under Ministry of Human Resources, and that Minister is Richard Riot,

Human Resource Minister Richard Riot said today that he is worthy of being appointed as a federal minister....Riot, who is also Sarawak United People’s Party (SUPP) deputy president, said his appointment as a federal minister was the prerogative of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak....But Riot had said he was in the Human Resources ministry because his first degree in Human Resource was from University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom while his Masters was also in the same field.– Bernama - FMT News, 29/6/2013

But, if you have been following the reported stories about Malaysia's need for 1.5 million more migrant workers in Malaysia, one would be wondering whether we now have a working Minister of Human Resources? OR whether Zahid Hamidi is now the 'new' or 'de facto' HR Minister or maybe even have ousted the powers and responsibility of the current Human Resource Minister? Richard Riot has been exceptionally quite as far as reported media news, when one goggles this issue...

The Minister who has been seen to be in the forefront is Minister of Home Affairs,  Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi, who is also currently the Deputy Prime Minister. Employers are apparently going to him about their 'human resource' problems, etc...WHY? And, it looks like he is dealing with them too? WHERE IS RICHARD RIOT?

I believe this is wrong - it may be true that the Malaysian Immigration Department may be under this Home Minister, but really all matters concerning Human Resources must be handled by the Minister of Human Resources...RICHARD RIOT

Even the question of LEVY, when it comes to levy relating to workers - it must be the Human Resource Ministry that decides on how many migrant workers, the quantum and who pays - not the the Home Minister. If the Home Ministry gets too involved, then there may be a clash in cabinet responsibilities and even the labour policy in Malaysia. Say, if the Human Resource Ministry is to protect local workers - but the Home Minister decides on who pays and how much  LEVY, it may contradict with Human Resource Policies. Malaysia may be going through 'bad times' - but still the Home Minister(also Deputy Prime Minister) should not be just looking at how to make more money for Malaysia? Matters concerning human resources must still be handled by RICHARD RIOT

Such 'interference' or even 'positioning' by Zahid Hamidi (the Home Minister) on matters of human resources should not be happening - Richard Riot is the Minister in Charge. Or, is Zahid speking for and on behalf the Prime Minister personally?

Richard Riot need to behave like a MINISTER - not just follower of instructions of another Minister...The only persons who can overrule the Minister's decision is the Prime Minister (for he is the one who chooses his Cabinet and even his Deputy PM), or the Parliament..not any other Minister, even if he is the Deputy Prime Minister - this is my opinion. Remember, in Malaysia, according to our constitution, the PM has the power to remove his Deputy PM or any member of the Cabinet at any time. It is essentially the Prime Minister's Cabinet? 

Recently, I see that Richard Riot maybe in Bangladesh to sign the agreement? But, what is the Ministry's position - or is the Minister just simply doing as directed? Directed by whom? The Home Minister? The Prime Minister? ... The perceptions given by the media reports is confusing...and given that there seem to be little or no media reports highlighting what the Ministry of Human Resources' position is on the matter of the extra 1.5 million migrants to be brought in over the next 3 years? [There are many other concerns about this - would 1.5 million migrant workers in Malaysia be leaving Malaysia in the next 3 years? Would employers prefer to extend contracts of already trained now existing migrant workers or just bring in NEW migrant workers?....??? Should not ASEAN workers be the preference?]

As such, It is the Ministry of Human Resources, who will decide on whether we need MORE MIGRANT WORKERS or Not. If the Ministry says they need, then the Immigration Department should just facilitate the entry or exit as determined by the Ministry of Human facilitating the issuance of the required work permit/passes,

Even on the question of LEVY - It should be Ministry of Human Resources that should be deciding. 


*  If and only if, there are no local workers to fill the employment opportunities in Malaysia, employers would be given permission to employ foreign workers(migrant workers)? POLICY?

*  Exception MAY be, if there is a need for workers which have specific skills, which Malaysian workers do not have or could not be trained to have within a reasonable period (maybe 3 months), then employers will be permitted to seek and employ migrant workers sufficient to fill those positions?

DETERENCE to be put in place to ensure that local worker are preferred by employers. One of this would be that Employers be required to pay levy for each and every migrant worker they employ. Labour cost per hour(not taking into account other cost of recruiting, cost of bringing in and sending back, cost of additional health requirements, levy and other bonds) - Labour Cost per hour of work for Local Workers must be the same or lower than migrant workers. Now, for Local worker, employer pays an additional 13% of their income into the worker's account in the Employees Provident Fund(EPF/KWSP), hence the same or a higher amount should also be paid for migrant workers be it to a similar EPF-like fund or LEVY or ..... If not, labour cost per working hour of migrant workers becomes lower in comparison to local workers.

Access to Justice Restrictions Make Migrant Workers More Preferred- Present Malaysian policy and practice makes it near impossible for migrant workers to complain or access the available avenues of justice - making Migrant Workers easily exploited with no risk of employers being caught(and/or punished) for breaches of worker rights and other rights. This makes Migrant Workers more attractive compared to Local Workers. Solution:- (1) Migrant Workers who have claims/complaints against employers cannot be sent back until their claims/complaints are finally settled by the relevant departments in the Ministry of Human Resources, labour tribunals and labor/industrial courts, including also other courts - and employers will still have to pay wages for migrant workers during this period (or alternatively Migrants will be allowed to stay and work legally in Malaysia possibly with another employer pending final settlement of the complaints/claims procedure); (2) Holding of Pasports, etc - Employers do not hold on Malaysian Worker's MyKad - and anyone in any country without their identification papers/travel permits or visa is at risk - Malaysia needs to make it a CRIME with heavy penalty for employer's to hold on to Pasports, etc - which becomes like a 'lease' ...Bonded Labour? Human Trafficking?

* Malaysian policy on Working Hours - 8 HOUR WORK, 8 HOURS REST, 8 HOURS LEISURE? - or is it now '12 HOURS WORK, 8 HOURS REST, 4 HOURS LEISURE'? Why? Malaysia has a draconian legal overtime limit of 104 hours now - when reasonably it should not be more than 50-60 hours per month. The need for Overtime is also something that should be happening infrequently - when there is sudden unforeseen spike in demand, etc - not a matter that happens too often - or every day/week/month? If so, that employers, should just increase their Labour Force - not force existing workers to work longer hours... Remember, when we say '8 Hours Work' - it does not include the time to get to work or from work back home, it does not include the required breaks and meal breaks - so effectively, even 8 hours work - really means 9-10 hours at workplace..and a further 1-2 hours to travel to and from work? Imagine then what a 12-Hour Working Day means?

* Wages and Minimum Wages - The solution suggested recently by a member of Cabinet to work 2 jobs is shameful. Likewise, it is wrong to require workers to work overtime, on rest days and on public holidays just to earn enough to survive in Malaysia. The Malaysian government, must ensure that all workers earns sufficiently enough working normal 8 hours to sustain their and their families lives. Minimum Wage, one may say is wages required, to barely survive but sufficient for a decent livelihood of the worker and his/her family - is the Malaysian Minimum Wage sufficient to do that? 

 * What are 'workers' in the perspective of the Malaysian government? Partners in industry/businesses - what is it, a partner with 10% share? or 40%? or 50%? In the Plantation Sector in Southern Thailand, where workers are employed to look after small plantations, where the employer/owner pays for all costs, the share of the profits is 40% for the workers, and 60% for the owner/employer? What is the Malaysian policy? Or are workers in Malaysia, mere 'commodities' to be exploited maximum. The word 'Human Resources' gives the impression that workers are now seen as mere 'commodities' or 'resources' - it may be good to consider changing this to 'Labour Ministry' or even 'Workers Ministry' or even 'Industrial Relations Ministry'? The name 'Human Resources' gives the impression that the government is merely concerned about the 'human resources' need of employers - not per se the workers interest or rights..???

At, the end of the day, Richard Riot need to step up and be the Minister of Human Resources - or he should just resign, and maybe Najib may appoint his deputy to be the new Minister of Human Resources or someone else?

Your members asked for foreign workers, Zahid tells group

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi has chided the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, saying its members asked for foreign workers. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, February 13, 2016. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi has chided the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, saying its members asked for foreign workers. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Seth Akmal, February 13, 2016.  
The request for more foreign workers was made by the industry players, including members of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), said Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi.

The deputy prime minister revealed this after the group came up with a statement yesterday asking Putrajaya to clear illegal foreign workers in the country before bringing in large number of Bangladeshi workers.
He asked FMM to check in advance with their members before making any statements on the issue.

Zahid said three agencies responsible for managing foreign workers in the country had confirmed receiving the request from FMM members. "Yes they did not give any (official) letter.
"But their members had applied to the Human Resources Ministry, Immigration Department and Home Ministry on the matter," said Zahid, who is also the home minister, told reporters in Shah Alam today.
On FMM's call for the clearance of existing illegal foreign workers, Zahid said the government was merely meeting the demand from industry players short of labour.
"The request came from the employers, we listened to their request, saying that their companies can't run due to shortage of workers," he said.
Zahid said it was not the home ministry's decision but rather, policy-wise, was determined by the human resources ministry.
"As chairman of the cabinet committee overseeing foreign workers and immigrants’ issue, I am sensitive to the demand from the industries," he said.
FMM yesterday said the manufacturers did not specifically requested for the workers, but welcomed the additional source, in view of the challenges faced in hiring foreign workers from countries such as Nepal, Myanmar and Indonesia.
It also urged the government to immediately convene a meeting with employer associations and share the details of the G-to-G arrangement especially on the cost of hiring the workers. – February 13, 2016.

Published : 15 Feb 2016, 23:54:57
Labour migration

G2G plus deal with KL this week

The government-to-government plus (G2G plus)agreement between Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur will be signed on Thursday, Expatriates' Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister Nurul Islam said on Monday.
Under the agreement, around 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers will be sent to Malyasia through private recruiting agencies in the next three years, he said.

A delegation, led by Malaysia Human Resources Minister Seri Richard Riot, is expected to arrive in Dhaka tomorrow (Wednesday), he said.

Replying to a question over selecting recruiting agencies, the minister told UNB: "We will provide a list of experienced recruiting agencies having clean record to the Malaysian government and they will enlist it online."

"Recruiting agencies will be selected following transparency and accountability," he added.

However, the salaries of workers have not been decided yet, he added.

About the migration cost, acting overseas employment secretary Begum Shamsunnahar said the range will be between Tk 34,000-37,000, including service charges of recruiting agencies, immigration smart card and registration fees.

On February 8, the cabinet approved the draft of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia, which has set a target of deploying 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers in three years.- Financial Times Bangladesh, 15/2/2016

Published : 15 Feb 2016, 18:26:57 | Updated : 15 Feb 2016, 20:15:55
G2G plus deal to be inked with Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia HR minister likely to arrive Wednesday

Malaysia HR minister likely to arrive Wednesday
Malaysian Human Resources Minister Seri Richard Riot is likely to arrive in Dhaka on Wednesday to sign the government-to-government plus (G2G plus) agreement. The G2G plus deal between Dhaka and Kuala Lumpur will be signed on Thursday (February 18), said Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment Minister, Nurul Islam, on Monday. He said under the agreement, some 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers will be sent to Malaysia through private recruiting agencies in the next three years.

To ink the deal a delegation, led by Malaysia Human Resources Minister Seri Richard Riot, is expected to arrive in Dhaka on Wednesday, he informed, according to a news agency - Idrak cleared by biplab. - Financial Express Bangladesh, 15/2/2016

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