Saturday, July 31

MTUC calls for RCI on influx of foreign workers

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KUCHING: Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) has renewed its call on the government to set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on foreign workers after Human Resources Minister revealed that there are almost six million foreign workers in the country.

“More than half of them are illegals. It is shocking that half of our workforce are foreign workers. They totally outnumber our police and Armed Forces. It is a serious and dangerous security issue. Our sovereignty is at stake,” MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo said through a press statement yesterday.

“The mine disaster in Pantu, Sarawak has revealed that we even have North Koreans. During the 6P legalisation programme in 2011, 2,088,358 foreign workers had been registered, of whom 1,135,499 were illegals. In four years, that number has increased to six million!”

“How did we get to this sorry state of affairs? Something is not right.”

Malaysia is consistently listed as one of the worst offenders of human trafficking by the US, Lo said.

The government must realise that employers hire foreign workers not because Malaysians shun such jobs but because the employers, through their economic might, have managed to suppress wages and make huge profits, he added.

”Employer always harp that Malaysian workers have bad attitude, lazy, choosy, demand high salaries and don’t show up for work, take sick leave etc etc. So they prefer to employ foreign workers,” he said.

Lo noted that recently Australian employers also raised the same complaint about Australian workers and preferred foreign workers, especially from Malaysia.

Singapore employers made the same complaint and we have more than half a million “lazy, choosy with “bad attitude” Malaysian workers there, Lo added.

The real reason they prefer foreign workers especially illegals ones was because they could exploit these illegals who had no avenue to complain, he pointed out.

“Now, every Malaysian is paying the price in terms of the high crime rate. It is no coincidence that the crime rate has increased in tandem with the influx of foreign workers. The irony is that we now have to employ foreign security guards to protect our properties against foreign criminals. It is not funny. At the rate we are going, the number of foreign security guards will outnumber the Malaysian Army personnel,” he said.

Employment related issues should be under the Human Resources Ministry but licenses were issued by the Home Ministry to selected parties to allow the import of foreign labour and the immigration department, which is under the Home Ministry had clearly failed to stop illegals from entering, said Lo.

“This outsourcing to selected people means that they began to charge exorbitant fees. These agents charge up to RM8,000 plus the first six months’ salary for the workers. The poor maid gets only RM300 x 18 months equals RM5,400 while the agents pockets RM9,800. It is the worst form of exploitation. RM9,800 every two years equates to RM58.8 Billion- That is more than the petrol subsidy,” he said.

“It is a multi billion Ringgit racket. So let’s grab the bull by the horn and set up an RCI so that we can stop this multi billion Ringgit racket. Of course many interested parties will dispute the above, so only a RCI will find out the truth,” he claimed.