Govt to probe if employers behind raids against foreign workers to avoid paying wages

09 Apr 2021 / 15:42 H.

IPOH: The Home Ministry will investigate allegations that some employers tipped off the Immigration Department against their own foreign workers without valid documents to avoid settling their wages if they are arrested.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin (pix) said the ministry would investigate all aspects of such issues to ensure that justice was done to all parties concerned.

“We cannot simply blame employers for allegedly lodging reports. Before conducting raids and operations, we have conducted investigations with certain strategies to ensure that employers abide by the law.

“It is the same with Temporary Work Pass (PLKS) holders regarding levy payment. If anything happens, we will investigate the workers, including to determine if they have been paid wages due to them, where they were employed and who hired them.

“And we will claim (unpaid wages) on their behalf. All this will be done to ensure justice is served to all parties,” he told reporters after attending a Malaysia Prihatin programme at Dewan Serbaguna Bandar Baru Tambun here today.

He was asked to comment on claims that some employers reported to the Immigration Department about undocumented foreign workers at building sites to avoid paying them the wages due upon completion of a project.

Yesterday, the Immigration Department arrested a number of illegal immigrants working at a construction site in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, and certain quarters including netizens claimed that these raids were the result of tip-offs by the employers of these workers.

On another matter, Hamzah said industry players had made 40,000 requests to bring in foreign workers for the plantation sector.

However, the government needed to make further studies on the standard operating procedure (SOP) involving vaccination, quarantine and accommodation before allowing the recruitment of foreign workers in this sector, he added.

“If we want to allow them to enter, we have to determine who will pay for the costs of COVID-19 tests, 14-day quarantine and whether employers have adequate facilities to house those cleared to work,” he said.

It has been reported that the recruitment of foreign workers in the plantation industry has been frozen following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali had said that the local plantation sector was still short of more than 500,000 workers despite having 220,00 locals and 265,397 foreigners registered as workers. — Bernama

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