Companies have to pay foreign workers’ wages even if there is no work, Saifuddin

The government today warned employers who bring foreign workers into the country to pay their workers, even if they are not given work.

Speaking at a press conference, Human Resources Minister Steven Sim warned defaulting employers that failure to pay wages is a violation of the country’s labor laws.

“Foreign workers are entitled to their wages even if the work is not provided by the company. Therefore, that is our position now, the ministry will consider workers who enter Malaysia, they must be paid whether they work or not,” he said during a press conference in Putrajaya this afternoon.

Sim said the decision was made during a joint committee meeting on the management of foreign workers between the Ministry of Human Resources and the Ministry of Home Affairs held earlier today.

On Dec 20 last year, 171 migrant workers from Bangladesh marched about 10 kilometers to the Bayu Damai police station in Pengerang, Johor to file a report against their agent who failed to find a job after three months in the country.

The group was however detained by the Immigration Department before they could make a report. Later they have been released from custody.

Following the incident, Sim said, the ministry has also used a number of new approaches to prevent the violation from happening again.

Companies found to be in violation of the law will have their foreign worker quotas frozen and blacklisted.

Commenting on concerns about mastermind speculation protecting individuals behind defaulting companies, the government will also take action against directors and managers involved under Section 101(b) of the Employment Act.

“So action will be taken against directors and managers and not just company entities,” he said.

Meanwhile, regarding the case in Pengerang, Sim told reporters that 571 Bangladeshi workers have filed claims for their unpaid wages to the Department of Labor so far.

It involves a total of RM2.21 million in unpaid wages.

For this case, Sim said the Labor Court has fixed Feb 5 for the hearing in Pengerang.

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