MTUC: Resister foreign workers for Socso and EPF

TASNIM LOKMAN, QISTINA ATIKAH

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has proposed for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso) contributions to be extended to foreign workers.

MTUC president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor said the move was one proposal MTUC had submitted to the Human Resources Ministry as part of the amendments to the Employment Act 1955.

He said once foreign workers were registered to the two schemes, it would be difficult for them to abscond or be enticed by other employers easily.

He said foreign workers would be registered to the schemes by the company that had brought them into the country and would have to work in accordance with their permit and contract.

Halim said their contributions to the two schemes would make them think twice about disappearing from their jobs.

He said if they left their jobs, they would be deemed as illegal because they would have breached their employment agreement.

“What is important is that 20 per cent of their salary would be kept in the country, based on the worker’s registration to the schemes under the company that brought them in.

“This not only protects the company, but also allows the government to control the influx of foreign workers.

“This ensures they (the workers) enter our country through proper channels, at the same time, giving back to the country through the contribution,” he told the New Sunday Times.

Halim said foreign workers’ labour rights were too weak to protect them, thus, making it easy for employers to take advantage of them, such as paying them below minimum wage, making them work long hours and providing bad housing facilities.

Locals, he said, could not work seven days a week and expected growth and future prospects, but most foreign workers did not. Many employers felt this was the downside of hiring locals.

Halim said it was vital that the government and stakeholders, including employers, employee and unions, take this amendment seriously.

A change, he said, was needed to equalise the system, which had been directly affecting Malay-sians.

He said with these amendments, the country would receive acknowledgement from international bodies as it uphold rights of workers, protecting local and foreign workers and have a successful system in handling foreign labour.


(File pix) Once foreign workers were registered to the two schemes, it would be difficult for them to abscond of be enticed by other employers easily.

However, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan disagreed with the proposal, stating that there was nothing stopping foreign workers from absconding despite having contributions in EPF and Socso under their employers.

“Whether they contribute to these schemes or not, there is nothing stopping them from running away.

“This is one of the major issues faced by employers and this will not counter absconding.

“The power here lies in the authorities, which MEF feels have not been strict enough,” he said.

Shamsuddin said once employers had lodged a report on employees that had absconded, the enforcement agencies should search for them and send them back to their homeland.

However, he said, this was not the case as many reports were left unattended.

He said many foreign workers remained in the country as they jumped from one job to the other, living in the shadows to avoid detection.

Registering them for these schemes would make no difference, he said, as what should be focused on was stricter and more systematic enforcement approach. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd