KUALA LUMPUR: Special machine-readable identification cards for migrant workers will be introduced to effectively monitor them when raids are carried out against illegals.
While the clause has already been included in the memorandum of understanding on the recruitment of workers between Malaysia and Sri Lanka, it will also be featured prominently in the agreement with Indonesia due to be signed in a month or two.
About 1.2 million foreigners work legally in the country, the bulk of them Indonesians.
Home Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Seri Aseh Che Mat, who confirmed this yesterday, said the move was also to protect foreign workers from undue harassment when they are picked up for verification of their status.
“As most employers hold the passports of foreign workers for security reasons and to prevent them from job hopping, they are forced to carry photocopies of the passports and work permits which are not clear. The authenticity of the document then becomes questionable.
“The employers will then have to be called in to verify their status each time they are picked up. With this ID card, the enforcement authorities can verify their status almost immediately,” he told The Star.
Aseh, who expects the cards to be issued shortly, could not say off-hand whether the cards would be colour-coded according to the sector the worker is in.
The cards would carry the holder’s name, sex, nationality, photograph, workplace address, passport number, employment sector, expiry date of the card and the state where it was issued.
Aseh said this would also enable the Immigration Department to have a complete database of all foreign workers in the country, adding that it would be easy to track them down when the need arose.
He said the old practice of issuing another form of ID cards started some years back, but had to be stopped after the only machine was destroyed in a fire.
“We have purchased two new machines costing RM8mil. The process should start soon,” Aseh said, adding that the cost would be included in the processing fees for applications.
It is understood that the Indonesian government made the request for the inclusion of the ID in the MoU with Malaysia.
Indonesia felt that this would be one way of protecting its workers who are here legally from being detained during raids together with those without proper documents.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced in Jakarta on Thursday that “most” clauses in the draft MoU had been finalised.
“There are only a few minor issues that need to be ironed out. If all goes well, we expect to sign the document in a month or two,” he had said, adding that the MoU would be used as the basis for the guidelines to recruit foreign workers.
Officials said that the minimum wage was among the issues still being fine-tuned.
It is learnt that Indonesia was pushing for a minimum wage based on sector while Malaysia wanted to let market forces decide the remuneration.
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