The foreign workers must be paid salary, HR Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Human Resources Minister Steven Sim said the ministry’s position is clear that every foreign worker brought into Malaysia must be paid a salary after they sign a service contract with the employer and employment agent.

He said the obligation was based on provisions under the Employment Act 1955 and also took into account the decision of several judgment cases in court related to employment issues before.

“Our position is clear, if you want to bring in foreign workers to Malaysia, there must be work. If there is no work, they cannot be brought in…but if they are brought in because there is work but then the work cannot be done for certain reasons, then it is obligatory to also pay wages starting from the time he (employee) is brought in.

“This is important so that no one (agent) misuses (recruitment quota) and leaves workers in the hostel for months without being paid, and it is also to ensure that employers do not arbitrarily apply and bring in foreign workers to Malaysia,” he said.

He said this to reporters after visiting the Kesuma Madani Program site which will be held in conjunction with the Thaipusam celebration next week, at Batu Caves, here today.

Yesterday, Malaysian Bar Council Migrant, Refugee and Immigration Committee Co-Chairman Datuk Seri M. Ramachelvam was reported to have praised Sim’s firmness in ensuring that cases of fraud involving foreigners who were brought in without the availability of employment do not recur.
Sim, before that, had ordered an investigation to be carried out regarding media revelations that the number of unemployed foreign workers in Malaysia now reached more than 500,000.

Meanwhile, regarding the allegation that the Foreign Workers Medical Monitoring and Examination Agency (FOMEMA) increased the fee rate and the frequency of medical examinations of foreign workers without taking into account the views of stakeholders, Sim said the matter would be discussed with the Ministry of Health.
Regarding the Kesuma Madani program, Sim said the Ministry of Human Resources (KSM) for the first time will deploy 200 Wira Kesuma volunteers to Batu Caves to help the temple manage logistics during the Thaipusam festival on Jan 25.

In addition, KSM also said that he will open a stall at the main tent of the program to offer job information and register the Indian community with technical courses required by the job market.
“This event was created in collaboration with the Malaysian India Transformation Unit (MITRA) because we also want many housewives of the Indian community to be registered with the Housewives’ Social Security Scheme (SKSSR) implemented by the Social Security Organization (Social Security Organization).

“Since a million visitors and Hindus are estimated to come during the festival, we hope that maybe half of them will register (with) SKSSR,” he said.

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