Paying workers via bank accounts can prevent abscondment: Johari

PUTRAJAYA: Payment of salaries via bank deposits could be implemented to prevent foreign workers from running away from employers, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.

He said this was among the proposals put forward to address the dumping of illegal foreign workers in the country, partly due to employers' delay in making salary payments to workers, often for months, which result in them absconding.

"There are industrial players who take illegal and unauthorised foreign workers. Then they (illegal workers) go to other industries, but the passports are kept by the previous employer," he said after chairing the "Budget 2018 Focus Group Meeting: Easing the Cost of Doing Business" here, today.

He said the industry players' difficulty to obtain foreign workers was one of the main issues raised in the meeting.

Hence, he said a dialogue session involving industry players and trade associations with the Ministry of Human Resources, Bank Negara and Immigration Department would be held in the near future to find a holistic approach to resolving the issue.

Acknowledging that there were weaknesses in the management of foreign workers on the part of the government, Johari said the industry should also play their part by not hiring illegal immigrants.

He said issues faced by industry players to obtain foreign worker permits were also raised in the meeting, which according to him, needed to be simplified.

"There needs to be a comprehensive policy, for illegal foreign workers, we need to simplify their registration process, there shouldn't be many charges, this is among the issues we want to solve," he said.

Apart from the issue of foreign workers, the meeting also discussed rising utility costs and inconsistent water supply for industries to operate, as well as infrastructure costs such as roads.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry in a statement after the meeting said Malaysia's economy had been performing well with 5.6% growth in the first quarter this year, surpassing the expectations of many analysts.

According to the World Bank's "Doing Business 2017" report, Malaysia was ranked 23rd, one place lower than the previous report. — Bernama