A major crackdown has been ordered against illegal job agencies hiring Sabahans to work in Singapore where thousands end up being cheated.
The order to the state Manpower Department came from Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam who expressed surprise over the numerous advertisements placed by agencies in local newspapers when there was only one licensed employment agency in the state.
He acknowledged that there were 2,400 cases of Malaysian workers complaining of being cheated in Singapore and 85 of them were Sabahans and Sarawakians.
The common complaint was that they were not given jobs as advertised or their salaries or wages were lower than what was promised to them, Dr Subramaniam said after meeting state Manpower Department officials here.
He said the department should immediately investigate illegal employment agencies by contacting the telephone numbers stated in the job advertisements.
“We are in the process of taking legal action against two illegal agencies in Sabah based on the complaints we received,” Dr Subramaniam said Thursday, adding that last year, the department had taken officials of five illegal job agencies operating in the peninsula to court.
He declined to identify the only licensed job agency allowed to operate in Sabah, but advised job seekers to check with the Manpower Department before taking up any offers.
He said many Sabahans and Sarawakians were also unaware that they should report to the Malaysian Embassy when they start work in Singapore.
There are currently some 500,000 Malaysian workers in Singapore and of these, 150,000 commute daily between the island republic and Johor, he said.
It is understood that for more than two decades, employment agencies have been freely placing advertisements and putting up banners especially in rural areas with promises of lucrative salaries and other perks to work in Singapore.