KUALA LUMPUR: By keeping a handle on supply and management of migrant labour on a Government-to-Government (G2G) basis, said a statement by Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM), it can help remove incentives in migrant labour supply, and curb human trafficking.
“The problem of debt bondage and vulnerability, resulting from high recruitment fees, can also be addressed through G2G,” added spokeswoman Rani Rasiah in a statement.
Currently, she said, workers were forced to borrow heavily to pay recruitment fees, and thereafter had to forgo wages for up to six months in order to settle debts.
Recruitment costs through G2G was about a quarter of that paid to private agents, she pointed out. For example, the recruitment cost for a Bangladeshi worker through G2G was RM3,000 but agents charged RM13,000.
Costs could be further cut if the current practice of paying for two medical reports, one in the home country and one in Malaysia, was done away with, continued the PSM statement.
PSM was commenting on a recent roundtable discussion organised by the Migrant Workers’ Right to Redress Coalition. It was hosted on August 4, 2016 by the Development Studies Department of the University of Malaya Faculty of Economics and Administration.
The roundtable brought together the government, employers and workers, including sending country embassy officials, the MTUC, and civil society organisations.
The most significant recommendation was put forward by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), workers and their organisations.
“It called for the profit motive to be removed from recruitment and management of migrant labour,” said PSM. “Recruitment should be determined by the actual manpower needs of the country.”
It should complement the local labour force, and other existing sources of labour including undocumented workers and refugees, the rountable agreed.
The statement contained other salient points from the roundtable.
The roundtable revealed how much agreement there was among stakeholders on labour migration. It only remains for policy makers to change the situation.
Employers shared their discontentment on how the cost per medical examination shot up from RM60 to RM180 after FOMEMA took over the service from the government.
There are currently too many ministries handling labour migration. In addition, the Home Ministry concerned with all immigration and security related aspects of labour migration, has the final say even on work related matters.
There was complete agreement that only one ministry, the Ministry of Human Resources, should manage all matters related to employment.