Why suspend what works in migrant worker recruitment? Guan Eng asks HR minister

Why suspend what works in migrant worker recruitment? Guan Eng asks HR minister

Foreign workers are seen wearing protective masks in public in Kuala Lumpur November 28, 2021. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

By Keertan Ayamany

Sunday, 14 Aug 2022 11:11 AM MYT

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 14 — Datuk Seri M. Saravanan should continue and not suspend the current hiring processes for migrant workers in Malaysia, federal Opposition lawmaker Lim Guan Eng said today.

The Bagan MP also suggested that the minister focus on simplifying the application and approvals process.

“There is no reason why the current application procedure and conditions should not be maintained to overcome the severe labour shortages expeditiously,” he said in a statement.

“The two-week unilateral suspension by the Human Resources Ministry (MoHR) does not make any sense just when the recruitment of migrant workers from Indonesia were recently restored and normalised on August 1,” he added.

Lim also said that imposing a two-week freeze of the current system would hinder ongoing efforts to overcome the 1.2 million worker shortage that have affected Malaysia’s industries across the board.

He claimed that the worker shortage has caused RM33.5 billion losses to those in plantations, glove-making, and auto spare parts.

“It is better for Human Resources Minister M. Saravanan to suspend himself and his officials for two weeks instead of imposing unnecessary hardship on businesses by repeating the previous two-week suspension for the application for the recruitment of migrant workers from August 15-31,” he said.

He pointed out that the first two-week suspension happened from June 1 to 15. A statement by the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers yesterday corroborates this.

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On August 5, MoHR announced the second two-week suspension, saying it is to allow a review of foreign worker procedures following the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 that will be enforced from September 1.

Indonesia previously accused Malaysia of breaching some terms in a memorandum of understanding signed by both countries on April 1 and halted the mass recruitment of its citizens to work here on July 13, but lifted the ban on August 1.

Malaysian industry players have been complaining of disruptions to their operations due to the large-scale worker shortage since last year.