Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Zahid Hamidi should let Human Resource Minister deal with Human Resource matters - Richard Riot, Malaysia's HR Minister?

Ahmad Zahid Hamidi is the Home Minister, NOT the Human Resource Minister - and, really for all aspects of Human Resources, it should be the Human Resource Minister who should be making announcements and comments. 

Even, if there are any Cabinet Committees on workers or migrant workers, it really should be the Human Resource Minister who should be the Chairman.

Migrant Workers - the Human Resource Ministry will determine the need, be in charge of the applications, approval process, etc...

After, the Human Resource Ministry has done the needful, Immigration just need to provide the required 'work visa/pass' - that is all...

But, here we have the Minister in charge of the Immigration Department behaving like the Human Resource Minister - especially when it comes to migrant workers...and, this should not be...

Even when the 'outsourcing workers', or the "contractor for labour system", it was, I believe, the Home Ministry who was giving the required license/permits for these 'contractors for labour'. In fact, I believe that these 'outsourcing agencies' concept may really be something that the Home Ministry came out with - not the Human Resource Ministry... The practice of allowing the 'outsourcing concept' in 2005 onwards, of course have led to 'discrimination amongst workers at the same workplace workplace', these 'supplied workers' lost their rights to even join trade unions and/or enjoy the benefits of Collective Bargaining Agreements, the existence of these 'outsourced' workers at workplaces also weakened existing trade unions,... The Human Resource Ministry, being more conscious worker and trade union rights, ILO standards, etc...may have not even suggested this 'contractor for labour system'...
Households may soon be able to hire domestic maids from outsourcing agencies if these companies are prepared to bring them in, said Home Affairs Ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Aseh Che Mat.  ...On the outsourcing concept, Aseh said it was initiated in December 2005 to meet the demand for foreign workers in the country.He added that 213 companies had been issued licences so far and out of these, 142 had already started to bring in workers.“So far, 31,493 workers have been brought into the country by these companies,” he said. - Star, 28/2/2007 Outsourcing agencies may bring in maids too (Star)

The Human Resource Ministry, to be fair, have in the past spoken out, saying that all matters concerning human resources should come under the HR Ministry not the Home Ministry...

All matters pertaining to the recruitment of foreign workers should come under the purview of the Human Resources Ministry, including the outsourcing agencies and the special approval for foreign workers, said its minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam. - Star Online, 21/7/2008 -Subra: Let my ministry handle all foreign worker matters [See also:- Migrant workers should be responsibility of Human Resources Ministry]
Recently, we had the issue of the 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers - and here again, we saw Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, the current Home Minister, in the forefront... Employer groups were meeting with the said Minister, etc...For a while, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi appeared to be the 'de facto Human Resource Minister for Migrant Workers' 

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

The Human Resource Minister, Richard Riot, appeared to be sidelined - until he finally spoke out on or about 19/2/2016 clarifying matters - and in a way 'contradicting' our Home Minister. The Home Minister reacted almost immediately with an announcement saying 'FREEZE' - and this decision seem to have just been confirmed by Cabinet - see report dated 13/3/2016, and Zahid makes the announcement - not the Human Resource Minister....  

HR Minister says 'NOT TRUE', then Zahid Hamidi says 'FREEZE' - 1.5 Million NEW migrant workers from Bangladesh?

“There will be no approval for anyone trying to bring in any foreign workers, be it from the Human Resources Ministry or other ministries, especially the Home Ministry,”  -
Should it not be only the Human Resource Ministry approval that is needed for bringing in migrant workers to satisfy HR needs in Malaysia? The Home Ministry, under which comes the Immigration Department, should just facilitate the provision of the required work visa - or maybe, do a 'security vetting' of migrant workers coming in.

Now, is there a worker shortage in Malaysia? Well, the Human Resource Minister has not said anything...as far as I can see...HOW MANY MIGRANT WORKERS ARE NEEDED NOW?

But, then there is this new 'Registering of Undocumented Migrants' that started on 15/2/2016 which will now end on 30th June.

Well, no mention of how many migrant workers we are looking for.... but we know some PRIVATE COMPANIES have been appointed to do this work....and they will be charging fees of RM800 for registration and RM400 (administrative), and this does not include the fines, levy, etc... So, if RM800 for registration only - and, if 1,000 are registered, that is RM0.8 million, if 10,000, RM8 million - and there are about 4 million plus undocumented migrant workers. Who chose these companies? Was there an open tender? Was the Home Ministry or the HR Ministry? Well, in any event, these few companies will be making good profit...

Two firms have been selected to handle applications for workers from Indonesia and Myanmar respectively while a consortium of three companies has been tasked to process applications involving other countries.

Personally, I believe that it should be the government doing this - the Human Resource Ministry (because they will know the human resource needs), and maybe the Immigration Department will be involved to collect the fines...AND there must be full accounting to the people - How many registered? How much collected? How many legalized? How much fines collected from employers who were using 'undocumented migrants'? How many of these employers were 'whipped'? How many complaints of 'cheating' by these companies and/or their agents - how many prosecuted?

Remember the 6P program, when MP Teresa Kok asked how much was spent and how much was made - this question was not answered...the reason given was that this was a PFI - hence no need to give accounts to Parliament. Hence the total avoidance of transparency and accountability... see the government answer - 'Private Government Companies' - a means to escape accountability and transparency? MAS, 1MDB, DEIG?? 
[See also:- BN privatizing this and that - avoidance of accountability and transparency - Pro-Rakyat? ]

Home Minister should be concentrating on ...

Are there no more 'national security' concerns that should be occupying his time? 

Are there no more 'police torture' and 'death in custody issues' that should be occupying the time of the Home Minister? Zahid Hamidi, what happened to the police officers that killed Syed Mohd Azlan Syed Mohamed Nur - it is now going to be 5 months since the EAIC recommended that they be charged for murder in October 2015?


Sunday, 13 March 2016

No more new foreign workers

Meeting the people: Dr Ahmad Zahid (centre) mingling with the crowd during the launch of the Deputy Prime Minister Football Cup Carnival at SMK Seri Perkasa in Perak. — Bernama
Meeting the people: Dr Ahmad Zahid (centre) mingling with the crowd during the launch of the Deputy Prime Minister Football Cup Carnival at SMK Seri Perkasa in Perak. — Bernama

BAGAN DATOH: Malaysia has closed its doors to all new foreign workers.

Announcing the Cabinet’s decision not to allow any more foreign workers into the country, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this meant the initial plan to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers was officially scrapped with immediate effect.

“In its meeting on Friday, the Cabinet decided that there will not be one, let alone 1.5 million new foreign workers coming into our country.

“There will be no approval for anyone trying to bring in any foreign workers, be it from the Human Resources Ministry or other ministries, especially the Home Ministry,” he told reporters after handing out appointment letters to new village chiefs in the Bagan Datoh parliamentary constituency here yesterday.

However, the ban does not apply to domestic helpers.

Dr Ahmad Zahid said employers could still bring in maids directly or through agencies with approval from the Human Resources Ministry.

“The hiring of foreigners as housemaids comes under the purview of that ministry and not the Home Ministry,” he said.

Employers in industries who needed foreign help would have to legalise existing foreigners in the country who were without work permits or whose permits had expired, he added.

However, he acknowledged the poor response to the ongoing rehiring programme for employers to obtain valid work permits for these workers.

“Due to this, the Government has decided to bring forward the deadline from Dec 31 to June 30,” he said.

Dr Ahmad Zahid added that employers had been given ample chances to rehire their workers, yet they continuously chose to ignore them.

“Instead, the Government is pressured and criticised by all quarters, including the Malaysian Employers Federation, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers as well as the Malaysian Trades Union Congress.

“Any employer who can’t find workers should approach these three organisations to help them find Malaysians to do the job,” he said. 

On Feb 19, Dr Ahmad Zahid announced the suspension on the recruitment of all foreign workers, urging employers to recruit Malaysians instead.

He said the suspension would be in place until the Government was satisfied with the real manpower needs of industries, adding that existing illegal workers would be detained and deported. - Star,

Registration of Undocumented Migrant Workers Start on 15 February -

Monday, 15 February 2016

Rehiring costs RM1,200

PETALING JAYA: The online registration of illegal foreign workers, which begins today, will require employers to pay RM1,200 as registration and administrative charges for each worker.
The cost does not include fines for immigration offences, levy, visa, processing fee and foreign worker work permits.
In total, employers will pay between RM1,395 and RM3,485 for each worker. 
Immigration Department director-general Datuk Sakib Kusmi said the charges were RM800 for registration and RM400 (administrative).
“These charges are not imposed by the Immigration Department but were set by vendors that had been selected,” he told mStar Online.
Two firms have been selected to handle applications for workers from Indonesia and Myanmar respectively while a consortium of three companies has been tasked to process applications involving other countries.
According to a department circular, the RM400 charge will only be imposed after the application of the foreign worker is successful and will be used by the vendors to cover the cost of getting the levy, visa and permit.
The department will impose other charges separately for matters like the levy.
The Government has recently announced new levy rates – RM1,500 for those in the plantation and agriculture sectors; and RM2,500 in manufacturing, construction and service.
Levy for domestic workers remained at RM410.
But the implementation of these rates have been deferred until Feb 20 for the Government to seek feedback from industry players.
The Immigration Department would also impose charges for visa, which varies among the countries, permits (RM60) and a RM125 processing fee.
On Saturday night, the Home Ministry issued a statement to explain that the Illegal Immigrant Rehiring programme, which ends on Dec 31, was to give an opportunity for those working illegally to get valid permits and for employers to meet labour demands.
Strict conditions will be imposed on both workers and employers.
“Those who don’t qualify will be deported to reduce the number of illegal workers in the country,” the statement said.
The ministry said the rehiring programme was aimed at meeting the labour demand in various sectors.
It will also allow the authorities to determine the actual number of illegal workers in Malaysia, currently estimated at two million.
“The effectiveness of the programme will be evaluated in the first three months and improvements will be made.”
The ministry warned of stern action against employers who continued to hire illegal foreign workers after Dec 31.
Workers must have originally entered the country legally, must be employed and must not have a criminal record to qualify for the rehiring programme.
It does not cover workers from non-permitted sectors or those frozen by the Government.
The online application can be made on rehiring.imi.gov.my.
Employers can also call 03 - 8880 1555. - Star, 15/2/2016
Friday, 26 February 2016

Slow start for amnesty drive

Running helter-skelter: Suspected illegal foreign workers fleeing the Selayang day market after spotting DBKL enforcement officers in this file photo.
Running helter-skelter: Suspected illegal foreign workers fleeing the Selayang day market after spotting DBKL enforcement officers in this file photo.
PETALING JAYA: Companies chosen to carry out the latest amnesty for illegal foreign workers admit the programme is off to a slow start.

But they expect numbers to pick up in the months ahead of the Dec 31 deadline, despite criticisms of the costly RM1,200 administrative fee to register each worker.

To date, 2,500 employers have registered to legalise 5,922 Indonesians with International Marketing and Net Resources Sdn Bhd (Iman), which is mandated by the Government to handle amnesty for Indonesians.

Ezreeq Mohd Nor, Iman marketing and Communications manager, said they had targeted to register between 500,000 and one million Indonesians working illegally.

He said registrations were slow when the Rehiring and Relocation Programme started on Feb 15 and attributed this to poor publicity.

“There’s hasn’t been a huge campaign but numbers are increasing this week,” he said when met at Iman’s headquarters in Wangsa Maju.

Bukti Megah Sdn Bhd, which runs the one-stop centre to legalise workers from Myanmar, has so far
received 232 applications from 138 companies.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) said many employers and foreign workers had bitter experiences of being cheated by agents under the previous 6P programme (2011 to 2014) and were not confident with the latest amnesty initiative.

Secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam said the Government should drop the RM1,200 fee which is imposed in addition to a levy for each worker.

Gopal said there was an estimated four million undocumented workers in Malaysia and the process of legalising and repatriating them should not be driven by profits by private companies.

“The Government should make the process less expensive. The levy imposed by the Government should be sufficient,” he said.

Ezreeq said to date no employers had complained about the RM1,200 registration fee and said unlike 6P, no agents were used by his company.

“Employers and workers can be assured they will not be cheated,” he said.

MyEG, which is among a consortium of three companies tasked with registering illegal workers from other countries, argued the RM1,200 was justified.

A spokesman for the company said the charges were not only for online registration of employers and workers but other management services.

These include the verification of the data provided, biometric and photos of both employer and worker, liaising with local authorities and embassies, medical checks and issuance of various documents.

She said the fee was also inclusive of “monitoring if foreign workers turn rogue again since they already have a previous record of being an illegal” and deporting those who don’t qualify for amnesty.

MyEG also provides a dedicated mobile SIM card, which is activated for one year, with unlimited free messaging to their hotline for each foreigner registered.

She said there was also a call centre manned by foreigners of various nationalities to manage worker issues, including unpaid wages and abuse. - Star, 26/2/2016

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