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FMM applauds govt’s Anti-Ali Baba Law

FMM In The News: THE MALAYSIAN RESERVE, January 2, 2024 - The proposed Anti-Ali Baba Law, aimed at curbing the illegal leasing of business licences to foreign workers by Malaysians, is pivotal in addressing the pervasive issue of undocumented workers in the country.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said the influx of foreign workers for non-employment purposes poses a significant national concern, demanding a comprehensive and transparent approach for effective resolution.

FMM president Tan Sri Datuk Soh Thian Lai (picture) emphasised the need for a credible recruitment system and robust enforcement measures to comprehensively tackle this challenge.

He urged the government to expedite the legislation, emphasising its potential to deter local businessmen from exploiting government-granted privileges for business operation and prevent foreigners, including runaway foreign workers, from engaging in illicit business activities.

“Fast-tracking this law is deemed crucial to prevent social ills arising from the misuse of permits intended for local entrepreneurs,” he said in a statement.

The FMM identifies the historical outsourcing policy as a root cause of the undocumented foreign worker influx, highlighting the shift from direct employment to outsourcing, leading to unfulfilled promises of employment and subsequent illegal status.

Despite the policy’s abolition, fraudulent recruitment practices persist, revealing weaknesses in the recruitment process that demand immediate attention and strengthening.

Additionally, FMM said weak enforcement contributes to the prolonged stay of undocumented workers, leading many to establish unauthorised businesses in violation of domestic laws.

It also emphasised the need to bolster enforcement efforts and recognises the unfairness of blaming employers for worker abscondment.

Employers face immense pressure to adhere to strict labour practices amid global scrutiny on forced labour, human trafficking and the growing prominence of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) elements in business operations.

The FMM advised its members to directly employ foreign workers with minimal reliance on agents, enabling better control over the recruitment process. 

It underscores the importance of due diligence to ensure transparency, governance and integrity throughout the employment process.

The organisation stressed that responsible business practices are imperative for industry competitiveness, safeguarding reputation and investor relations, and upholding the country’s standing in the global arena.

“FMM strongly believes that collective efforts, including the Anti-Ali Baba Law and other labour reform initiatives like the multi-tier levy mechanism, are crucial for reducing dependence on foreign workers and propelling Malaysia towards a high-income status nation,” Soh said.

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