PETALING JAYA: Migrant rights activists have called for reforms in the migrant workers’ quota and recruitment system through enhanced transparency and efficiency.
North-South Initiative executive director Adrian Pereira raised concerns over unnecessary procedures in the current system.
“There are multiple health checks that increase costs, and ineffective pre-departure training that we do not see have any impact on the workers’ knowledge,” he told FMT.
According to the Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency, migrant workers must undergo two medical check-ups – one in their home country before departure and another in Malaysia within 18 days of arrival.
Pereira also highlighted a scandal involving fake documents used to apply for workers’ quotas which he said showed a failure in the system.
“We have found migrant workers with legal visas and official documentation, but the documents that companies used to recruit the workers contained fake information,” he said.
“We have proposed that labour migration fall under the prime minister’s office, but with an independent ombudsman auditing the system, because we know this system has been compromised.”
Migrant Care Malaysia coordinator Alex Ong said there was a lack of transparency in the distribution of migrant workers across industries, which might result in potential abuses and corruption in the ministries handling the quota approvals and policies on domestic workers.
Last month, the Auditor-General’s Report 2022 revealed inefficiencies in the migrant workers’ quota approval process. It noted that the one-stop centre module of the integrated foreign workers management system, set up in 2005 for streamlined processing of employer applications, was underutilised.
Despite a RM19.4 million development cost, the system was used only to determine employer eligibility for migrant workers’ quotas. The report also highlighted system implementation issues, including unsigned agreements and unclear operational directions.