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One-stop centre for foreign workers now under Home Affairs Ministry's purview, says Sivakumar

FMM In The News: THE EDGE MARKETS, PUTRAJAYA, Wednesday, December 21, 2022 - The one-stop centre for the recruitment of foreign workers is now under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, while the one-channel system (OCS) to recruit domestic workers remains under the purview of the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR).

Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar announced this at a press conference on Wednesday (Dec 21). "OCS is under MOHR, one-stop centre is under [the Ministry of Home Affairs] now," he said.

The previous human resources minister, Datuk Seri M Saravanan, in June said that the one-stop centre had been transferred from the Ministry of Home Affairs to the MOHR in line with the practice in many countries.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) expressed concern over speculation that the one-stop foreign worker management system would be placed under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

"FMM is indeed shocked and concerned with social media reports where it has become apparent that some forms of discussion are in progress to place the one-stop centre and OCS modes of foreign workers' processing under the [Ministry of Home Affairs]," said the federation.

Nonetheless, Sivakumar gave his assurance that the OCS used to recruit domestic workers will continue to fall under the MOHR's purview.

"The important thing is the end result — whether we can secure sufficient foreign workers or not. I think that is more important. It doesn't matter where you put OCS, be it under MOHR or [the Ministry of Home Affairs]. The issue is how we are going to solve the problem," he said.

FMM said the industry needs to be assured that there will be continuity of the management of the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System under the MOHR.

"The MoHR serves as the umbrella organisation that oversees the planning, management and development of the country's manpower resources via its other departments and agencies and thus is the most fit and appropriate ministry to undertake the management of foreign worker matters in the country in line with its overall charter to ensure the smooth operations of the nation's labour market," the federation said.

FMM also pointed out that memoranda of understanding with source countries are currently signed by the MOHR on behalf of the government in view of its role and responsibilities on labour management in the country.

"Therefore, the point of contact will be the MOHR and not any other ministries," it said, adding that flip-flopping on policies will be damaging for the country and industries especially in the current economic condition.

FMM said the foreign worker management was handed over to the MOHR in February following the lifting of the almost-two-year recruitment freeze due to Covid-19.

"Reverting the foreign worker management to [the Ministry of Home Affairs] would be a detrimental decision and will once again cause much disruptions along the whole processing system as MOHR has only just taken over the management of foreign workers and has put in all the necessary resources to support the services," it said.

FMM is not the only industry group that has called for a single-ministry model to manage foreign workers' supply in the country. The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) on Tuesday urged the government to maintain the OCS under the MOHR's purview to ensure efficiency and lower costs in the recruitment of foreign workers.

According to MEF, since the MOHR was given the custody to operate and manage OCS in April, the foreign workers' shortage issue had been easing steadily.

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