PETALING JAYA: A committee tasked with producing recommendations on the streamlining of foreign worker policies says it is “deeply disappointed” that the problems it identified four years ago continue unabated.
In a statement to mark the fourth anniversary of the report that was presented to the Cabinet, the independent committee on foreign worker management also expressed its “grave disquiet” at the recent allegations of corrupt practices in the human resources ministry in relation to foreign worker recruitment.
“The recruitment, employment, and repatriation of foreign workers should be fair, transparent, and ethical,” it said.
“These principles should be the fundamental pillars in the government’s management of foreign workers in Malaysia.”
Apart from calling for the government to make the report public, the committee also urged the government to urgently implement the report’s various recommendations. The report is classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA).
Its 40 recommendations covered areas in which the committee insisted that change and reform were urgently needed, with key issues among them being the “removal of corrupt practices and preferential treatment” granted to appointed service providers.
It also recommended that there must be an immediate end to the abuse of foreign workers, documented and undocumented, by employers, recruitment entities and enforcement agencies.
The Cabinet-sanctioned committee headed by former Court of Appeal judge Hishamudin Yunus was set up by the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government in August 2018. Its preliminary findings were presented to the then home minister Muhyiddin Yassin and then human resources minister M Kula Segaran in January 2019 before the full report was presented to the Cabinet on May 22, 2019.
However, Kula was reported to have said that not a single proposal was implemented.
Before the report was submitted, the press was told that it would include recommendations on the salaries and protection of foreign workers as well as observations on the living conditions of foreign workers.