Thursday, January 22, 2015

MALAYSIA:::Review of levy rate regulates entry of foreign workers

KUALA LUMPUR: The move by the government to review the levy rate on foreign workers enables a better regulation of their entry based on the country's projected needs.

It also encourages employers to hire more local workers and, therefore, reduces the rate of unemployment in the country.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) deputy president Abdullah Sani Abdul Halim said the streamlining of levy rate could determine quotas according to sectors to avoid dumping of foreign workers in the country.

He said certain sectors needed a large number of local workers, such as the plantation and manufacturing sectors, while the payment of levy by employers differed according to sectors.

"It also ensures that efforts being made will enable local workers to be given priority so as to reduce the unemployment rate among locals before recruiting foreign workers on a quota basis if the rate is raised or
maintained," he said when contacted byBernamatoday.

He said this when asked to comment on the special address by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on current developments and the government’s financial position at the Putrajaya International Conventions Centre here.

Abdullah Sani said the fixing of the levy rate could also reduce maltreatment faced by certain foreign workers in the country.

"They are most likely to be cheated by irresponsible agents or those interested only in reaping profits and, with the streamlining, the government can control and monitor the entry rate of foreign workers into the country and, thus, curb the number of illegal workers," he said.

In thespecial address, the prime minister announced that the government will review the levy rate imposed on foreign workers in the country this year.

Meanwhile, Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (PAPA) Jeffrey Foo was confident the entry of foreign workers could be streamlined and controlled following the review.

"Nevertheless, this is an initial and smart step in determining the number of foreign workers who enters the country at any one time and keep illegal immigrants under control," he said.

Malaysian Maid Employers Association (MAMA) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein said the government's move to streamline the levy rate in accordance to the economic situation could ease the employers' burden in obtaining the service of housemaids.

"In view of the increasing cost of living, especially in urban areas, employers cannot afford to get the service of foreign maids if the rate of levy is still high.

"As such it needs to be streamlined based on the current economic situation to enable employers to engage foreign maids," he said.