File picture of workers collecting palm oil fruit at a plantation in Sepang. To allow the business sector to recover from the pandemic, Chong Chieng Jen said the Sarawak government must play its role to make sure that the procedures for recruiting foreign labour were simplified. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Monday, 23 May 2022 10:01 PM MYT
KUCHING, May 23 — The Sarawak government has been urged to reduce red tape for the recruitment of foreign workers to help the business sector recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In making this call, Chong Chieng Jen (DAP-Padungan) said he been told that the state government was adding on several additional red tapes to make the recruitment of foreign workers more difficult for employers.
“There are red tapes for the application of permit for foreign workers. In Sarawak, I was told that instead of helping to ease the procedures, the state government is adding on several additional red tapes to make the application process more difficult for employers to employ foreign workers.
“Some of them (employers) have to wait for months for the approval,” he said when debating the motion of appreciation on the Yang di-Pertua Negeri’s opening address in the august House today.
To allow the business sector to recover from the pandemic, Chong said the Sarawak government must play its role to make sure that the procedures for recruiting foreign labour were simplified.
He said many sectors including plantations, food and beverage and construction, required foreign workers to keep the business going and growing.
He said the Sarawak government could see to it to ease the procedures for the recruitment of foreign labour, and that the state government should not push such responsibility to the federal government.
He said if the Sarawak government could muscle Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas) and the federal government to pay State Sales Tax worth RM2 billion to Sarawak, it should be able to ease the procedures for the recruitment of foreign workers.
“According to the statistics of the Labour Department, at the moment, foreign workers working in Malaysia are half the number of foreign workers before the pandemic. But I’m not sure about the figures of Sarawak specifically.” He reiterated that the Sarawak government should ease the process of the employment of foreign workers to help the various sectors recover.
To further help the construction sector, Chong said the state government should consider allowing contractors to submit the variations of costs to the relevant authorities to reduce the financial burden of contractors.
“I urge the state government to emulate what has been done by the federal government, especially on state government projects, to allow leeway to contractors to submit for the variations of costs to the relevant authorities so that they won’t suffer so much,” he said.
He added that such a move would also ensure that contractors could complete the job and help with Sarawak’s economic recovery. — Borneo Post Online