MTUC wants RCI into foreign worker intake abuses

The continued suspension of foreign workers’ intake has affected industries such as construction, manufacturing, and services.

PETALING JAYA – The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is calling for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into possible abuses in the intake of foreign workers.

J Solomon, the general-secretary of the MTUC, said they had learned that the government planned to roll out phase two of the Foreign Workers Integrated Management System of ePPAx and that this was expected to cost RM300 million.

The human resources ministry uses the ePPAx system to check online applications by employers for workers and to ensure all requirements are fulfilled.

Solomon said RM300 million was “exorbitant” for a simple online check.

“This is precisely why we are calling for nothing less than an RCI, which can offer the necessary findings and recommendations to ensure the nation will not be mired in a mess that has caused the influx of foreign workers in the first place,” added Solomon.

He said a report on foreign worker intake was submitted to the home and human resources ministries in February but till date none of its recommendations had been heeded.

The consequence of this delay, he said, was the continued suspension of foreign workers’ intake in industries such as construction, manufacturing, and services. Builders and manufacturers claim they will be forced to abandon projects if this continued.

It was previously reported that there were elements of power abuse and corruption in the recruitment of foreign workers. Employers had hoped the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government would deal effectively with this matter.

Solomon said an RCI would be able to identify ways to clean up the process once and for all, and put a stop to corrupt practices that had resulted in human trafficking of foreign workers.

He said only a RCI would have the ability to pinpoint the areas of abuse in ministries, government agencies and departments involved in regulating or overseeing foreign labour.