PETALING JAYA: Diplomatic missions and employment agencies have welcomed the move to introduce machine-readable identification cards (IDs) for migrant workers, saying that it will have a positive impact on foreign labour.
Acting Indian High Commissioner Dr Vinod Kumar said implementation of the ID would help legal workers get better treatment as it was an original document with their details.
Workers will not be subjected to harassment with this card as it will be honoured, he said.
Dr Vinod hoped that the Home Ministry would collaborate with police and other relevant departments to ensure that all parties recognised the card.
He also suggested that every enforcement team be equipped with one portable machine so that checks could be made on the spot.
Introducing the cards, he added, would create a more congenial atmosphere for workers, thus attracting more skilled labour into Malaysia.
On Monday, The Star reported that the card would be used to monitor workers when raids are carried out against illegals.
Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Aseh Che Mat had said the move was also to protect foreign workers from undue harassment.
The card will carry the holders name, sex, nationality, photograph, workplace address, passport number and employment sector as well as its expiry date and the state where it was issued.
Bangladesh High Commission first secretary of labour A.B.M. Rashedul Hassan said the ministry had taken a pragmatic step which should be followed by other countries.
It will have a positive impact on foreign labour here, he said.
He hoped that this would help foreign workers as many had been detained by the authorities despite holding photocopies of their passports.
Pakistan High Commission head of chancery Ameer Khurram said it would be good to issue the cards as soon as possible.
How they want to implement it is up to the Malaysian Government, he added.
Sri Lankan Ambassador to Malaysia Rosy Senanayake said the card would save workers from trouble whenever they were questioned.
Workers won't have to go back and forth with the authorities, which is good, she said.
The Indonesian Embassy's head of information services Budhi Rahardjo said the embassy could not comment on the move as yet since the memorandum of understanding covering this matter had not been signed between Malaysia and Indonesia.
Let the governments and their representatives discuss the matter first before we speak about it, he said.
While welcoming the move, Agensi Pekerjaan Mingway managing director Poh Kok Kian said the IDs should be issued promptly.
They should come together with the work permits. Otherwise, it will cause inconvenience to workers and agencies, he said.
Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies president Abdul Jamil Jantan said the cards provided an avenue to flush out illegal immigrants.
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