FMM In The News: The Star, April 19, 2017
PETALING JAYA: Employers hiring foreign workers are facing roadblocks with the new mandatory online registration systems, enforced since April 1 to replace walk-in submissions.
Federation of Livestock Farmers Associations Malaysia president Datuk Jeffrey Ng said farmers who tried the Integrated Foreign Worker Management System (ePPAx) faced problems with user interface.
“It is difficult to fill up the multiple forms, and the system becomes overloaded often. Also, lack of information makes navigating difficult and time consuming,” he said.
Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Owners Association (Presma) president Ayoob Khan Muhamad Yakub said they tried to help some members who were still unclear about the process.
“At the moment, it is quite complicated, but I assume the system will be better accepted once the teething problems are solved,” he said.
The ePPAx is used to get foreign workers from various countries except from Bangladesh, which used the Foreign Worker Application System (SPPA).
In spite of the difficulties, Ayoob and Ng supported the use of the online system, saying it would minimise cost and reduce abuse or trafficking of migrant workers.
Ng, however, hoped going online would shorten the approval process as some walk-in applications could take months.
Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Tan Sri K. Kenneth Eswaran also lauded the online systems but said the walk-in counters should have been maintained.
“It will enable those who are not tech-savvy to have another avenue to submit their requests until they learn to use the online system,” he added.
Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the authorities should be clear on the response time for the applications.
“Employers need not be kept waiting like before, and of course, the deadline must be reasonable so that operational requirements can be met.
“The online system can reduce chances of bribes, but it is very new and many were taken aback when it was made compulsory,” he said.
The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said initial feedback showed the approval process was slow– about a month for applications to be verified at the state and federal levels.
“Approval at the Home Ministry leve lis still done manually. The system is in its infancy but efforts must be taken to ensure the process is more efficient compared with the manual system,” it said.
The FMM and the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCIM) suggested the use of just a single portal, instead of two.
ACCIM secretary-general Datuk Low Kian Chuan said that although they had not received complaints, many employers were unaware of the difference between ePPAx and SPPA.
“We welcome any measure taken by the Government to expedite the application process and make it simpler. However, using two different portals and systems may create confusion,” he said.