KUALA LUMPUR: V Ganabatirau (PH-Klang) has urged the government to review the “stringent” conditions imposed on the hiring of foreign workers for barbershops, textile stores and goldsmiths.
He said that despite the government’s move to reopen the intake of 7,500 foreign workers for the three sectors, many businesses struggled to fulfil the conditions.
Ganabatirau said to apply to hire foreigners, employers must first submit documentation on existing local employees, including their employment contracts, salary slips as well as EPF and Social Security Organisation (Socso) statements.
“The problem is, many employers (in these sectors) no longer hire local workers. So how can they fulfil these requirements?” he said in the Dewan Rakyat during the committee-level debate on the 2024 budget.
“If these requirements are not fulfilled, then their applications will be rejected immediately.”
He said prioritising local employees over foreigners was more suitable for large businesses, but not smaller ones that could not afford to employ locals who do not have the necessary skills in the first place.
In September, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced Putrajaya’s decision to partially lift the ban on foreign workers for the three sectors. The ban had been in place since 2009.
Ganabatirau said the human resources ministry also imposed a condition for employers to submit a certificate for the accommodation of foreign workers.
“The issue is, without knowing how many foreign worker applications would be approved, how would employers obtain such certificates from the labour department?”
He added that some employers had spent up to RM20,000 to prepare accommodation for foreign workers and this would be wasted if their applications were rejected by the government.
Ganabatirau said employers were also unhappy with the requirement for skills certificates (SKM) as the expertise in these sectors were often passed down from one generation to the next in the Indian community.
He said the government must thoroughly review the conditions to resolve the issues faced by the three sectors, which form part of the Indian community’s heritage.