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FOREIGN WORKERS IN MALAYSIA - ISSUES AND FACTS

FOREIGN WORKERS IN MALAYSIA – ISSUES AND FACTS 


1. INTRODUCTION
The issue of foreign workers was debated everywhere from the House of Parliament by members of Parliament and also by ordinary people at the streets. The foreign workers existence is viewed in negative aspect especially in case of the increasement of criminal rate and flowing out our ringgit to abroad. However, they do not realize that our nation are developing and need manpower to do so. Local human resources could not entertain the demand of manpower in the industry and the only choice is by importing foreign workers to do so.

2. GOVERNMENT POLICY
Foreign workers are allowed to be employed in 5 formal sectors i.e. manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture and service. They are prohibited to be employed as frontliners. The maximum period that they are allowed is only 5 years. Foreign workers are initially allowed to work for three (3) years only and may, upon application by the employer, be extended, from year to year, to the fifth year. For an extension after the fifth year, the employer must obtain certification from:
1. Department of Skills Development (JPK), the Ministry of Human Resources for manufacturing sector
2. Construction Industries Development Board, Malaysia (CIDB) for construction sector
3. Ministry of Agriculture for agriculture sector
4.  Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) for  plantation sector (specifically for palm oil)
Foreign domestic helper may work as long as service is still needed by employer.
Application from employer for approval must be made at One Stop Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs. The Home Affair Ministry then will proceed to Immigration Department for immigration process. However, for domestic helpers the application could be made at the Immigration department. They will apply visa from Pejabat Perwakilan Malaysia at their country of origin. The workers will enter our country and the employers has to take them at the points of entry such as for Kuala Lumpur is at KLIA.

3. PROTECTION
Legally foreign workers are protected in Malaysia. The issue arises regarding illegal foreign workers either they entered the country by illegal way or they have no permission to work in Malaysia.
Workmen Compensation Act 1952 provides protection on foreign workers. Previously this Act also applies to local workers but the law is amended to provide local workers only will get compensation under Employers Social security Act or SOCSO. Under section 26(2) of the Workmen Compensation Act 1952, employers are compulsory to be made their foreign workers are insured under Foreign Workers Compensation Scheme or Skim Pampasan Pekerja Asing (SPPA). The provision actually was legislated in 1996. Cabinet meeting on 8 August 2012 decided that such scheme not only compulsory but must be pre condition in the application and renewal of Temporary Employment Visit Pass (Pas Lawatan Kerja Sementara-PLKS). Under this scheme foreign worker will be compensated on any injury suffered by them within or outside working hours as long as they have contract of employment with such employer. The benefits that the workers will get under this scheme are:
1.    Workers Compensation Insurance including death, funeral expenses  and permanent disability.
2.    Returning worker to the country of origin cause of death and permanent disability.
3.    Accident out of working hours.
The employer will pay an annual premium which is cost around RM 67.00 per worker through approved Insurance Companies.  
There is two other scheme related to foreign workers. The first one is Foreign Worker Insurance Guarantee (Skim Jaminan Insurance Pekerja Asing) wich was provided under Rule 21 of Imigration Rules, a bye-laws under Immigration Act. This is a security deposit for the foreign workers. If they are arrested for any case and the order to return to their country of origin, the deposit will be forfeited and the employer will be indemnified of any extra cost incurred. The other scheme is Foreign Worker Hospital Admission and Operation Scheme (Skim Kemasukan Hospital dan Pembedahan Pekerja Asing) which is clearly for the medical services of the foreign worker. This scheme is not compulsory.

4. RETURN TO THE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
The worker could apply to return to their country of origin for certain reasons. The process is called Check-out Memo. The application must be attached with the application from employer, passport of the worker and return ticket to their country of origin. Employer must ensure that the Foreign Worker return to country of origin on the date stated on Check-out Memo through point of entry applied for. If an employer does not apply for Check-out Memo, the Foreign Worker is considered to still work for them thus the employer is still held responsible on the Foreign Worker.

5. CONCLUSION
Malaysia had provided a structured legal frame work for foreign workers, however , it was not followed by the employer and the worker itself. The reasons behind that are to get a shortcut and avoiding high cost. In the other hand, they will bear the risks of being arrested or tragedy out in the sea as regularly happened.  
FOREIGN WORKERS IN MALAYSIA - ISSUES AND FACTS FOREIGN WORKERS IN MALAYSIA - ISSUES AND FACTS Reviewed by Kamaruddin Mahmood on 3:55:00 PTG Rating: 5

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