Wednesday, December 17, 2014

MALAYSIA:::It makes no sense to send back skilled workers

In response to Professor Azizah Kassim from the Institut Kajian Malaysia dan Antarabangsa (Ikmas) of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) would like to clarify her statement that “the illegals who are legitimised through the programme may stop paying their levies”.

With all due respect, the levies are paid by employers through bank draft and NOT by the foreign workers as what she had stated earlier. Therefore, the issues of foreign workers not paying the levies does not arise in this case.

The foreign workers who came to this country are genuine workers who came to look for better wages for their family. They are the ones that undertake jobs which not many Malaysian wants to do. In this case for the construction industry, the landscape is that it is a non-glamorous industry which is “dirty, dangerous and difficult”.

Without foreign workers, Malaysia would not be able to experience the double digit growth by the construction industry since 2012. In fact, it does not make sense to send back these skilled workers, trained by Malaysia’s resources, and then recruit thousands of unskilled workers with fresh training needed. Time is money. Even to replace them, it takes six to eight months processing time. All these have time implications that comes with costs.

MBAM would like to highlight again that the construction industry are already facing a shortage of over 100,000 workers nationwide. Adding another burden to the industry by taking away a large number of skilled and trained foreign workforce would be a big blow to the industry. This will also cause a chain reaction by affecting the completion date of the projects and cause more contractors to receive liquidated and ascertained damages (LADs) due to the delay.

The government needs to look at the root cause of having so many illegal migrant workers in the country and why they are here in the first place. Most of the employers preferred legal migrant workers if there are enough to hire in the first place.

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