Foreign workers recruitment start here

The government is reportedly mulling the setting up of a mechanism to reduce the remittances by foreign workers in Malaysia to their home countries in a bid to stem the outflow of the ringgit.

Sinchew Daily in a report today quoted sources as saying that under this scheme, foreign workers would be required to pay a part of their monthly salaries into a fund to be set up by the government.

Alternatively, their salaries would be deducted directly as a remittance to the fund, in a manner similar to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) contributions.

“The government is aware that a large portion of the wages of foreign workers wage are sent back to their home countries, causing severe currency outflows that may affect Malaysia’s economy, hence the scheme was devised.

“The government is still determining the sum or percentage of salary that foreign workers need to pay, and when (including special circumstances) the workers can make withdrawals from the fund,” the source is quoted as saying.

The Chinese-language daily claimed that the National Economic Council has already discussed the scheme, and the cabinet has agreed to the scheme in principle.

Details still being studied

The rest is up to the Ministry of Home Affairs to determine the details of the scheme and how to implement it.

The daily also quoted Deputy Home Minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed (photo) as saying that he is unable to reveal the details of the scheme, as the framework and details are still being studied.

However, Nur Jazlan said, the ministry may make an announcement on it soon.

The daily also quoted then Deputy Finance Minister Ahmad Maslan as saying that between January and September last year, foreign workers remitted about RM23.07 billion out of Malaysia through some 113 million transactions.

It said a government study has found that foreign workers remit about 80 percent of their salaries back to their home country for their family’s expenses.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian employers are “raising” the depreciated ringgit on their own for the benefit of millions of foreign workers here.

Many, on their own accord, are paying their foreign workers more to make up for the shortfall caused by the falling ringgit.

Besides households employing foreign domestic workers, several restaurant operators and construction firms have also been paying their foreign workers more out of compassion.

Original Penang Kayu Nasi Kandar managing director Burhan Mohamed said he had increased his employees’ wages by 5% to 10%, depending on their length of service.


“It’s difficult for them right now because with the depreciated ringgit, they are sending less money back home. I want to help them until the ringgit recovers.

“It’s extra cost but we want to reward our workers,” he said, adding that he had increased the wages of over 200 of his foreign workers, who are mostly from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association president Noorul Hassan Saul Hameed said the salaries of foreign workers had shrinked due to the weaker ringgit.

“Hopefully, we can work out a temporary solution,” he said, adding that restaurant workers are paid between RM900 and RM2,000 depending on experience.

Reza from Bangladesh, who has been working in Malaysia for five years says RM1 equalled to about 30 taka previously.

“Now it is only about 16 to 17 taka. My wife and I recently had a child, so I have to work extra hard to send back enough money,” he added.

In Butterworth, an Indonesian cleaner who wished to be known as Ina, 44, lamented that to exchange a million rupiah now, she had to fork out RM370, compared to RM290 in June.

“I send home RM700 of my RM950 monthly pay, but my family is getting much less rupiah now,” she added.

Bangladeshi construction worker Hanana Shamim, 38, who has been working in Malaysia for four years said he transfers RM800 of his RM1,400 salary into his wife’s account.

“My family have asked me about the reduced amount. I said I’m doing my best to save as much as I can. Prices of items here have also gone up,” he said.

A restaurant owner in Chai Leng Park who wished to be known as Tan, 58, said that salary was a sensitive issue among his foreign workers.

“I have six Nepali workers. They told me that the value of the ringgit has dropped by about 20% and they have been hinting at a raise,” he added.

In Johor Baru, journalist Norshikin Mohd Salleh, 38, said she did not mind raising her Indonesian maid’s salary.

“Hana has been working with me for six years. She is honest and reliable when looking after my three young daughters,” she said, adding that Hana was now paid RM1,000 compared to RM500 in 2009.

However, manager Julian Lee, 45, said paying RM750 to his maid was already double the amount compared to 10 years ago.

“Unless the maids coming from overseas are completely competent and qualified for the job, I cannot agree to a hike in their wages,” he said.

The proposal to bring the 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh into the country will not affect job opportunities for the locals, said Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

He said despite the entry of these foreign workers, the government will continue to protect job opportunities for the locals.

“The protection is not only for the intake of foreign workers from Bangladesh but it (the policy) is applicable to all countries sending their workers to Malaysia,” he said in a written reply to Dungun MP Wan Hasan Mohd Ramli at the Dewan Rakyat.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also the deputy prime minister (DPM), said the government also planned to tweak the distribution mechanism to include other sectors for the 1.5 million Bangladeshis.

The initial plan agreed between the government of both countries will see the 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh employed in the plantation sector.

However, following the changes to the distribution mechanism, these workers will be allowed to work in sectors which local employers find it difficult to hire Malaysians.

The five sectors which have been identified are construction, manufacturing, plantations, agriculture and services.

“Although the mechanism will be tweaked, it will be supervised by the government via Surveillance Agency in every sector to prevent flooding of migrant workers,” Ahmad Zahid said.

He defended the government’s decision to approve the intake of the 1.5 million Bangladeshis, claiming it is needed to support the country’s economic growth and industrial needs.

However, he said the actual number of workers from Bangladesh will depend on the employers meeting the strict guidelines including prioritising the locals.

KUCHING: The Sarawak Immigration Department has issued 3,180 i-kad to foreign workers here from Oct 1 to 19 and will be extended to immigration offices in Sibu, Miri, Bintulu and Lawas. Its director, Datuk Mohd Zulfikar Ahmad said the colour-coded cards were issued according to sectors; agriculture (green), plantation (orange), construction (grey), services (yellow), manufacturing (red) and housemaids (brown).
The i-kad issued to every foreign worker is a personal identification document on top of the passport while he is staying in Sarawak. “Its use is subject to the terms of the visitor pass (temporary work) issued to the holder. “All foreign workers issued with visitor passes valid for one year will be issued together with i-kad,” he told a press conference at his office to announce the issuance of i-kad in Sarawak.
Zulfikar said that those who were issued with visitor passes for less than one year will not be issued with the i-kad. “The i-kad is not a travel document and cannot can be used to replace the passport or travel document for entering or leaving the country or for travel between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak. “Foreign workers who want to enter or leave the country via Sarawak must use their passports. The original i-kad may be used as supporting document for immigration checks at checkpoints.” He said the foreign workers may carry the original i-kad for identification during inspection by enforcement agencies without having to carry passports. The i-kad has security features which allow enforcement agencies to differentiate the original from the fake cards. Sarawak has over 100,000 foreign workers employed in various sectors. --Bernama

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