The government is urged to rectify a loophole in the labour law relating to the recruitment of foreign workers, which causes the country losing hundreds of millions of ringgit in revenue.
Sarawak Employment Licensee Association (Sela) is appealing to the government to stop foreign employment agency to directly supply workers to the end-users in the country.
The association in a press statement signed by its chairman of publicity and information sub-committee Lim Fui Hor yesterday claimed that because of this, the country lost hundreds of millions of ringgit in yearly revenue of taxable income due to recruitment fee being taken out to the individual country without paying any tax to the host country.
“The government has to adopt a policy to protect the interests and rights of local employment agencies instead of the foreign employment agencies. With regard to security, disqualified and rejected foreign workers resort to crime to survive in the state and most of the time they are not repatriated due to the high cost or lack of valid travel documents.
“Since foreign employment agencies have no representatives in the state, any complaint with regard to the treatment of foreign workers become a bilateral issue,” said Lim.
The association also appealed to the Consulate General of Indonesia not to issue any endorsement of job orders to Indonesian employment agencies unless the latter provided and incorporated agreement of co-operation with legal employment agencies in the state. This is meant to protect and benefit all parties especially the Indonesian workers whenever there was a dispute between employers and their workers.
“We are appealing to the government to make the necessary amendment to the Guideline To Issuance of Licence of Employment of Foreign Workers under Section 119 of the Labour Law (Sarawak Chapter 76). The present guideline provides under Clause 14.1 that the relevant authority only interacts with the employer.
“The association feels that this is not a healthy situation because registered employment agencies in the state are affected in their business as they are not allowed to participate in the forwarding of application on behalf of employers in respect to employment of foreign workers,” said Lim.