Appreciate govt efforts to issue permits to workers: Zahid

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Employers here are reminded against negating efforts by the federal government to issue permits to their workers including those whose permits have expired or have stayed in the highland areas illegally.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi pointed out that the efforts taken by the government included issuing Temporary Working Visit Permits (PLKS) and Enforcement Cards (E-Kad) to the workers aimed at helping the employers.

"The Immigration Department has been asked to issue the PLKS and E-Kad to the foreign workers here. They are asked to cooperate with the employers concerned to get the workers' documents from the respective offices of the embassies or high commissioners of the countries of their origin.

'"We hope that the employers will be more responsible because our aim is to assist them," he told reporters after jointly chairing the High Level Committee Meeting on Illegal Cultivitaion and Restoration in Cameron Highlands with Pahang Mentri Besar (MB) Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, here today.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, this was among the resolutions made at the meeting that lasted approximately one hour at the Cameron Highlands District and Land Office.

In addition, Ahmad Zahid who is also the Home Minister said the meeting also decided that reviews and re-evaluation of the more than 600 applications for Temporary Residence Licence (LPS) on the highland be made after they were rejected previously.

He said the matter would be discussed and decided at the Pahang state government meeting taking into consideration the economic and human factors.

He added that the state government was also asked to consider issuing land utilisation permits to the illegal operators who had worked on the permanent forest reserve area measuring 217.3 hectares for the past 30 years.

"We also decided to give the National Security Council (MKN) a role as a steering agency to carry out monitoring together with the state government, the District and Land Office as well as the relevant agencies periodically,"he said.

According to the Deputy Prime Minister, the periodical monitoring was important to determine whether illegal intrusion or erosion had occurred that could cause extraordinary floods or destruction on the environment on the highland.

Ahmad Zahid added that the meeting today also decided that the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) carried out 'gotong-royong' programs with the other departments, local communities and non-governmental organisations as soon as possible to clean up the irrigation canals to avoid the occurrence of flash floods.

"I was told by the Pahang MB that there were four-wheel-drive vehicles being thrown into the canals. I want the entrepreneurs and employers to be more responsible, don't just reap profits and leave problems behind," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said new settlements would also be built in areas which had been identified to tackle the housing problems of 28 Orang Asli families in Sungai Tiang besides implementing the integration program in Sungai Tiang and to rehabilitate the hill slopes.

"We (the meeting) also decided that the shop houses that had been sealed to be reconsidered for the LPS by imposing levy and certain payments according to the Pahang state legislation as well as that of the District and Land Office,"he said. — Bernama