Six trade associations submits a memorandum on foreign workers to CM
KOTA KINABALU: Six trade associations are appealing to the Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Hajiji Haji Noor to help resolve the shortage of foreign workers faced by the industries in Sabah.
They are Sabah Timber Industries Association (STIA), Timber Association of Sabah, Sabah Furniture Association, SME Association of Sabah, Sabah Employers Association (SEA) and The East Malaysia Planters’ Association.
Their appeal along with several recommended measures were made via a memorandum to the Chief Minister submitted by SEA Secretary-General and STIA Committee Member, Fong Ming San through Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister, Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam during their courtesy call to the Industrial Development Ministry (MID) at Wisma Kewangan here on Thursday.
In a press release issued by SEA, Fong said Sabah industries which are dependent on foreign labour have been hit by shortage of foreign workers in the past few years, with the situation turning dire since March 2020 after the country closed its borders as a measure to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Foreign workers with expired permits returned to their home country and were subsequently unable to return to Malaysia. At the same time, the Government froze intake of new foreign workers.
“Several lockdowns were imposed by the State, shutting down economic activities during the first Movement Control Orders (MCO 1.0) and allowing operations with limited capacity during the subsequent lockdowns. With the eventual opening up of economic activities, the need to address foreign workers shortage is of utmost priority in industries much-maligned with 3D work (difficult, dirty and demanding) which the locals shun,” he said.
He said the Sabah industries appeals to the State Government and recommended several measures to urgently address their predicament and other issues pertaining to foreign workers, namely;
o Opening of borders to allow industries to recruit workers from Philippines and Indonesia.
o Implement another round of amnesty/regularisation programme for the estimated 1.2 million illegal immigrants in the State.
o Allow application of quota to be carried out immediately; allow automatic renewal of unutilised quota approved pre-pandemic; and speedier processing of application for quota.
o Grant work permit for holders of IMM13 and Red or Green Identity Cards to Philippines and Indonesian immigrants currently in the State.
o Continue the 2019 Recalibration Programme stalled by the pandemic and allow the 80,000 qualified “pending” cases to be ready for legal employment.
o Allow application for foreign workers quota to be carried out immediately, including automatic renewal of unutilised quota approved pre pandemic
o Ensure speedier processing of application for foreign workers quota.
o Issue latest guideline for application of foreign workers employment.
o Reduce the foreign workers Levy of RM6,000 (manufacturing, construction and services sectors) for those having worked 11 years and above.
o Renew work pass of properly documented workers who were not able to renew due to Covid-19 movement controls.
Also present were the the Deputy Permenant Secretary of MID, Benedick Bisoni; President of Federation of Sabah Industries, Richard Lim; and Chairman of Federation of Malaysian Manufacturer (FMM) Sabah, James Ha.