Gov’t bans import of all foreign workers

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HUTAN MELINTANG: The Federal Government has decided to stop the recruitment of new foreign workers with immediate effect, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said today.

The decision was made at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting. It does not affect recruitment of domestic help or maids.

Ahmad Zahid said employers who wanted to hire foreign workers should recruit from among foreign employees already in the country, including those whose permits had expired.

Employers could also hire foreign workers who are not registered under the 6P programme (a partial amnesty for foreign workers without proper papers).

Ahmad Zahid who is the home minister, said the issue of importing 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers could be considered as closed.

He said employers or agents who were found guilty of protecting illegal foreign workers would be subjected to whipping under the Immigration Act and Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act.

“Whipping will be meted out by the courts because the punishment with fine has no effect as employers and agents still keep bringing in illegal foreign workers,” he said.

Elaborating, Ahmad Zahid said the whipping sentence was aimed at dismissing all false allegations against the government, including the accusation that the government was trying to make a profit out of the recruitment process.

He said the government had given ample opportunities for employers to register their foreign workers through the rehiring programme that would expire on June 30.

Ahmad Zahid suggested that employers who wanted to hire foreign workers should submit their applications to the Malaysian Employers Federation; Malaysian Trades Union Congress, and the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers.

BERNAMA