Penalty for companies that cheat foreign workers is not enough, there needs to be a stricter law -KKIM

 KUALA LUMPUR – The proposal by the Minister of Plantation and Commodities, Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani to impose a fine of up to RM30,000 on companies that bring in foreign workers but fail to place them in the employment sector is welcomed.

 It is to ensure that the issue of agents does not arise again and a few companies use the opportunity to sell quotas for hiring foreign workers and persecute foreign workers for their own benefit.

The president of the Indian Justice Congress Party of Malaysia (KKIM), Shanmugam Ramaih previously said many companies were ‘immune’ in using quotas to hire foreign workers, which had a big impact on all industries in the country.

 According to him, when a high value is imposed as a fine in addition to blacklisting the companies involved in the foreign employment sector, it should be considered a warning so that no party dares to do it again.

“When foreign workers arrive in Malaysia with the promise of a new job but then have to do odd jobs for survival or have no work for many months, the impact is huge. Again, many people borrow before paying high prices to come and work here.

 “The initial hope of getting a stable job is replaced by the bitter reality of an uncertain work situation and struggling with poverty is very challenging. It’s even sadder when these groups are kept in a room for months without proper work and food.

“From legal they became illegal, they became unemployed and started working in markets, restaurants and small traders. It should be remembered that these foreign workers don’t pay taxes, don’t have work permits, which ultimately causes us to lose national income,” he said today.

 Previously, Johari proposed a penalty of up to RM30,000 if there were irresponsible companies bringing foreign workers into the country.

 The money, he said, could be used to send the group back to their country of origin.

 Shanmugam also said that apart from the penalty, it would be good for the government to take some drastic measures including canceling or suspending the business license of employers who are guilty of defrauding foreign workers.

 “Also establish a public blacklist to warn potential foreign workers in addition to initiating legal action that may involve criminal charges for fraud or providing false information.

 “I also suggest giving a mandate to employers to compensate affected foreign workers for all financial losses. Conduct periodic audits and surprise inspections and establish strong collaboration with government agencies, labor boards and regulatory bodies,” he stressed.

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