Thursday, January 16, 2014

MALAYSIA : No foreign workers for fast-food outlets, says panel

The Special Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers and Illegal Immigrants (JKKA-PATI) has decided that fast-food concept restaurants will not be allowed to employ foreign workers.

The JKKA-PATI secretariat, in a statement issued after its meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin in Putrajaya today, said the decision was made to give priority to local residents in filling up such vacancies.

“The government views the matter seriously and fast-food concept restaurant operators have been urged to employ locals who are still interested in working at such places, it said.

JKKA-PATI said cooking in fast-food restaurants was quite routine, as compared to those which needed experience to prepare a wide variety of dishes.

“Fast food restaurants are still popular as a source of employment among young people such as school-leavers and university students to obtain exposure and income, even as part-timers in the food industry,” it said.

Also present at the meeting were Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Minister Hasan Malek, Health Minister Dr S Subramaniam, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Karim and Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Douglas Unggah Embas.

JKKA-PATI has also decided on several issues which included extending the government-to-government mechanism with Bangladesh, now being implemented in peninsular Malaysia to the Sarawak government to fill vacancies in the oil palm plantation sector. 
Its implementation in the peninsula had so far, generated positive impact, it said.

“The method of entry control, as well as security and health screenings by both countries is seen as being more systematic and addressed common problems on employing foreign workers,” added the statement.

Apart from that, JKKA-PATI said the Special Programme of Managing Illegal Immigrants (PKPP) which was being carried out at the Home Ministry One-Stop Approval Centre (OSC) will cease on Jan 20.

It also reminded employers who alleged being swindled by agents or middlemen during the 6P programme to present their cases at the OSC before the PKPP ended.

“It is hoped employers will approach the OSC fast to avoid further complications.

“After the programme has been terminated, the government will carry out stricter and continuous enforcement to ensure public security and order,” it said.

- Bernama

CM’s myopic view of migrant workers

FMT LETTER: From Rani Rasiah, via e-mail

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement that the minimum wage should be restricted to Malaysians only and not extended to migrant workers is hugely disappointing. His reasoning that extending the minimum wage to migrant workers would increase business costs as well as result in a net outflow of money is lame and totally unacceptable.

Employers are under no compulsion to hire migrant workers and if indeed they are too costly, then bosses should stop hiring them! Or if it is felt that SMEs can’t cope with a larger wage bill, then the government should subsidise the SMEs in some way instead of asking workers to make a sacrifice.

Workers’ rights are not exactly a priority with bosses, and thus workers look to the government to intercede on their behalf. Unfortunately, the federal government has shown itself to be complicit with employers in the exploitation of both Malaysian and migrant workers. It is truly regrettable that Lim Guan Eng doesn’t differ from the federal government in this matter.

Instead of addressing the demands of Malaysian workers for better wages and working conditions, the government has flooded the labour market with cheap migrant labour. This has severely curtailed the bargaining power of local labour, and created youth unemployment among unskilled, academically poor Malaysian youths, a situation that is a contributing factor to social problems.

Creating an income differential by denying migrant workers the minimum wage will not change this situation. In fact it will only encourage companies to employ foreign workers because it is cheaper. Lim Guan Eng’s remarks are thus shortsighted and harmful for Malaysian youths and workers as well.

The situation is no better for the more than four million migrant workers whose exploitation is sanctioned by government policies. It’s officially known that workers passports are unlawfully held by bosses, a situation that places them in an extremely vulnerable position, and that has led to all kinds of abuses, including the crime of trafficking.

The PSM is against the exploitation of workers. Cost-cutting should not be at the expense of workers, whatever their nationality. All workers should be paid the minimum wage without further delay. Stop discriminating by skin colour and nationality!

Accord labour its due dignity! Legislate policy in the interest of society!

The writer is PSM central committee member and coordinator of its migrant desk - FMT, 6/1/2013, CM’s myopic view of migrant workers