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FMM advocates centralising foreign worker management for consistency, efficiency

FMM In The News: THE MALAYSIAN RESERVE, December 28, 2023 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) reiterates the plea made by the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reforms) M Kula Segaran to consolidate the management of foreign workers exclusively under the Human Resources Ministry (MOHR). 

This recommendation aligns with the findings of an independent committee on foreign workers.

FMM president Tan Sri Datuk Soh Thian Lai said it has been advocating for a streamlined foreign worker management system, urging the adoption of a single ministry and an end-to-end online platform since 2018. 

The aim is to establish a comprehensive, equitable, and transparent administration of foreign labour in Malaysia as the recurrent shifts in government decisions regarding foreign worker management have been a source of frustration for employers, leading to confusion, delays, and substantial costs in processing and approvals.

“A singular agency exclusively dedicated to managing foreign workers is essential for implementing cohesive policies within a strategic framework,” Soh said in a statement.

This is crucial to supporting the country’s economic growth objectives, particularly concerning the labour needs of industries relying on foreign workers, he added.

Soh further stated that as the country’s labour regulator, MOHR is best-positioned to oversee the recruitment and management of foreign workers. 

Its comprehensive charter encompasses planning, management, and development of the nation’s workforce, making it the most suitable ministry for handling foreign worker affairs.

He also highlighted there should be consistency in policies, adding that the frequent changes in foreign worker policies have had adverse effects on investor confidence, causing frustration among employers. 

“Recent shifts in management responsibility, such as the transfer of foreign worker management to the Home Affairs Ministry in December 2022, resulted in disruptions, resource wastage, and functional overlaps,” he pointed out.

To enhance the efficiency of the foreign worker management system, FMM advocates a single agency, preferably MOHR, to handle the entire employment process from recruitment to repatriation.

Legislative powers for approval and management of foreign workers are already vested in MOHR, and consolidating these processes into a single online system would eliminate complexities and delays.

FMM strongly supports the notion that MOHR should be the exclusive ministry for managing foreign workers in Malaysia, adding this approach ensures consistency, credibility, clarity, and transparency in the country’s foreign worker management policies.

“By establishing a single agency and online system, Malaysia can streamline its processes, fostering prompt communication and efficient issue resolution for employers dealing with foreign worker applications,” Soh concluded.

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