Govt mulling registration to protect Malaysians working abroad

Forty seven Malaysians returned home from Cambodia where they were arrested on charges of being part of a gaming syndicate. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The human resources ministry is planning to revive the Malaysian Overseas Employment Management Center (MOEMC) to protect Malaysian workers abroad against exploitation.

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran said the centre had earlier failed to operate effectively due to a lack of officers.

“We are thinking about whether that particular agency should come back so that Malaysians, before leaving for another country, are well-informed.

“They are free to work anywhere, but they should be well-informed and must get a reasonable salary, protection and other benefits,” he told reporters after chairing the National Labour Advisory Council Meeting at Putrajaya.

Talk of reviving MOEMC comes days after 47 Malaysians returned home from Cambodia where they were arrested on charges of being part of a gaming syndicate.

Kulasegaran said he was very concerned about the matter, and that such a situation should have been prevented.

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran.

“I am surprised to know that our Malaysians could be deceived while working overseas, without going through the proper steps, and ensuring their safety.

“MOEMC was not really powerful, and there is no law to say they (workers) have to register before going overseas,” he said.

Introduced in 2007, MOEMC aimed to coordinate with workers going overseas and to assist those facing problems abroad.

Kulasegaran said he was proposing a registration system for those who wish to work overseas so that they can be protected.

He added, however, that registration would be on a voluntary basis.

He also said a website would be created to facilitate the process.

“You can just go to the system. It will bring you opportunities to work abroad where you can apply, so there is no point in seeing agents.

“Let’s say you want to work in Cambodia. We will ask our attaché there. And if it’s not good, we will warn people,” he said.

Kulasegaran also said the ministry was in the midst of reviewing the Trade Union Act 1959, with a technical committee established and discussions held between employers and employees.

Adding that the current act was weak, he said they would seek the views of the International Labour Organisation and World Bank as well.

He hopes this can be done in two months’ time.