Foreign workers recruitment start here

KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) today lauded the introduction of online registration systems for foreign workers, enforced since April 1, saying there are huge benefits for those who utilise the systems.

“We have always supported online processing and advocate for the computerisation of the entire foreign workers recruitment process, from application to yearly renewals until check-out and repatriation,” FMM told the New Straits Times today.

The government recently set up online systems for employers to recruit foreign workers, namely the Foreign Worker Application System (SPPA), Integrated Foreign Workers Management system (ePPAx) and also the MYXpats system for expatriates.

FMM said online application systems provide greater convenience and time-saving, compared to the earlier system. This was because employers could now apply from their offices instead of having to be physically present at immigration offices.

“We do not have to line up in early hours of the morning to get the queue numbers and employers only need be physically present to collect their approvals,” it said.

It said costs should also be reduced as agents are no longer required to submit documents, queue or collect approvals on behalf of the employers.

“There is greater confidentiality to company’s information as compared to hard copies (documents submission) which could be easily duplicated,” FMM said.

FMM said the systems also alleviated the administrative burden of the authorities as each company would need to digitalise their information into the online system which would then be readily accessible throughout different government levels for approvals.

“It is not only green but also saves time, resources, papers and photocopy cost.

“We hope employers are able to track the progress of their online applications at every stage and all documents and information uploaded would be kept safe,” FMM said.

It was reported that all employers applying to hire foreign workers were required to submit necessary documents via online applications, except for foreign domestic helpers from April 1.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who is also Home Minister, said the ruling was applicable for applications for foreign workers from all source countries.

He said the measure was taken to ensure employers were not cheated by employment agents and paying extra costs, besides preventing the agents from taking advantage of foreign workers that were in dire straits.

PETALING JAYA: The Home Ministry is currently investigating some of the 14 immigration state branches which have issued e-Kad to illegal foreign workers who have not gone through the Rehiring Programme.

Its deputy minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said it was wrong to issue the cards — that allows them to be identified to the authorities — unless the employee undergoes the programme.

\"This is wrong, (and) those who have obtained their e-Kad through this manner, return it. If they\'re caught either by the immigration or the police, their e-Kad is invalid unless they have gone through the programme,\" he told reporters here after visiting Western Digital (M) Sdn Bhd with some officers from the ministry and the Malaysian Investment Development Authority.

When asked if there may have been confusion when issuing the e-Kad, he said: \"The instructions from KDN (home ministry) are very clear — e-Kad is a subset of the Rehiring Programme and cannot be issued without going through it.\"

On how the E-Kad had been obtained by the illegal workers, he said: \"The Rehiring Programme is done at the Immigration offices. When an illegal foreign worker comes with their employer, they (the employer) will have to pay some charges, including a levy to the government and then, an e-Kad will be issued to the employee.

\"But, it\'s been identified that some immigration branches have issued the e-Kad without going through the programme,\" he said.

He declined to state how many e-Kad have been issued when pressed further.

On a separate note, he urged that all applications for foreign workers be done through online systems available on two portals — ePPax, a centralised foreign worker management system, and sppa, which is meant for hiring employees from Bangladesh only.

This is because the ePPax system is used generally, or business-to-business, while sppa is a government-to-government (between Malaysia and Bangladesh) initiative.

\"I hope that employers will not be confused on the matter as we have conducted engagements through the media and employers\' association,\" he said.

The ePPax website is and sppa\'s is

\"When an employer enters his application in the portals, it does not mean they will get a worker\'s permit immediately. There is a second procedure to call the applicants for them to prove through an interview that they do need the (foreign) employees. We, at the Home Ministry, also want to make sure the application is legitimate.

\"Upon confirmation of the application, the approval letter and sticker for foreign workers will be issued,\" he added.

JOHOR BARU: Malaysia is no longer perceived to be the land of milk and honey, and foreigners are no longer keen to take up difficult, dirty and dangerous (3D) jobs in the country.

The depreciating ringgit in recent years is making them think twice about whether it is worth it to make the journey here to search for the good life.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia past president Teh Kee Sin said foreigners now preferred to work in Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

“They are better paid in these countries,” he said, adding that many Indonesian construction workers currently working in Malaysia are only waiting for their contracts to expire before moving elsewhere.

Teh said demand for skilled construction workers was on the rise in Indonesia as there were many infrastructure and property projects in the neighbouring country.

“Indonesians previously working in the construction sector in Malaysia can command good pay and most of them will also start as supervisors,” he said.

Teh said Malaysia should start reducing its dependency on foreign workers and the authorities should get rid of the illegal workers first as their presence has caused uneasiness among the locals.

He said based on newspapers reports, it was estimated there were two to three million illegal workers in the country.

“The Government should continue giving more incentives to SMEs so they can invest in automating their operations and reduce the dependency on foreign workers,” he said.

Malaysian Indian Commerce Association president P. Sivakumar said foreigners were now not only carrying out 3D jobs, but also going into business.

He said the recent crackdown on foreigners conducting business activities in Pengerang, Kota Tinggi, by the local authority was just the tip of the iceberg.

“If you walk around downtown Johor Baru, there are so many shops with sign boards in foreign languages and you might think you were either in Kathmandu or New Delhi,” he said.

Sivakumar said these foreign operators hired workers from their home countries with most of their customers also among their countrymen.

“The revenue generated from their businesses is being sent back to their home countries and Malaysia is not gaining anything from them,” he said.

It was reported in March last year that foreign workers had sent back RM119bil to their home countries since 2011, with Indonesian workers the biggest contributors at RM21.2bil over the last five years.

This was followed by Bangladeshis with RM17bil, while Nepalis sent home RM13.2bil, Indians RM6bil and Filipinos remitted RM3bil.

“The figure would be higher if we were to take into account undocumented foreign workers,” Sivakumar said.

He disagreed with the view that Malaysians were not willing to do work that was deemed difficult and dirty, saying there were thousands of Malaysians commuting daily to do such jobs in Singapore.

THE ongoing diplomatic spat between Malaysia and North Korea has laid bare the dysfunctional management of our country’s foreign worker policy. The fact is, we have North Korean workers here.

Initially, there were claims that the North Koreans were here on a special arrangement limited to only one mining company. This is not surprising as North Koreans may have the required mining expertise. But the company disclosed that they no longer have them and the last batch was sent back months ago.

So it is shocking that last Wednesday, the Chief Minister disclosed that out of the 176 North Korean workers in Sarawak, 140 of them were found to be overstaying after their work permits expired while 36 had legal work permits. That means 80% of them are illegals!

According to a report in The Guardian on Oct 29, 2015, human rights activists claimed that tens of thousands of North Koreans were sent to work abroad in conditions that amount to forced labour to circumvent United Nations sanctions and earn up to US$2.3bil in foreign currency for the country, as revealed by a UN investigator.

A local newspaper managed to speak to a North Korean worker with a valid pass, who is one of six legal North Koreans working at a construction along the Batu Kawah-Matang Link Road.

According to him, he has been working in Sarawak for the past four years and started working at the construction site two months ago after working in the Kota Samarahan area.

Asked about his salary, he said: “You would not understand and Malaysians and anyone from any country would not understand.”

So there you go, we have North Koreans working not only in mining.

Our foreign worker issue has reached a dysfunctional state. Despite crackdown after crackdown, the problems have worsened. On Labour Day in 2009, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Government was serious in reducing foreign workers. Within the same week, the Cabinet deferred the decision to increase the levy that was designed to reduce foreign workers.