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FMM repeats call for a single ministry to manage foreign workers

FMM In The News: BERNAMA, KUALA LUMPUR, Friday, January 6, 2023 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has urged the government to appoint a single ministry as the full custodian to manage foreign workers to improve the efficiency of the entire system.

President Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the federation also called for a joint-ministry approval taskforce committee involving relevant regulatory agencies for the respective sectors.

“It would be imperative that a single agency handles the entire foreign worker employment process from end-to-end (recruitment to repatriation) via a single online system with no carve-outs of processing to third party service providers,” Soh said in a statement today.

He said employers should not have to bear additional cost when accessing/using the system. The current practice today is via the Foreign Worker Centralised Management System.

“Having a single system also ensures that a single central repository of foreign workers database is maintained. It removes the discretionary powers of officers to approve applications, (promotes) prompt communication and resolves issues faster as employers need only to deal with a single agency and system,” he said.

FMM also acknowledged Home Affairs Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail’s assurance that the ministry will be the “main custodian” in the management of foreign workers while the Human Resources Ministry’s (MOHR) role will be in the area of labour policy, determining foreign worker quota and finalising agreements with source countries.

FMM reiterated its stance that there should only be one level of approval based on MOHR’s quota, while the Home Affairs Ministry’s key role should be confined to security matters and the processing of the calling visa, or Visa Dengan Rujukan (VDR), and work permits.

Given that the changes (of roles) will be effective Jan 15, 2023, the industry would like to seek a meeting with the ministries concerned to better understand the latest announcement and to ensure a smooth transition arising from this realignment of functions, Soh said.

FMM also welcomed simplified application procedures and speedier processing of foreign workers recruitment as announced by the government.

FMM thanked the government for recognising the important and complementary role played by foreign workers in Malaysia's economic recovery particulary with an uncertain and “increasingly gloomy” 2023 outlook.

-- BERNAMA

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