Businesses want illegal foreign workers legalised

  • Nation
  • Friday, 09 Apr 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: A group of business owners are calling on the Government to legalise their foreign workers who are currently employed without proper permits.

The group, consisting of seven associations representing Chinese and Indian restaurant owners as well as other businesses in the services industry, said they needed these workers to continue operating.

Spokesperson for the group Tan Tong Heng said forcing the estimated 150,000 illegal immigrants currently employed in the services sector “into the streets” would give rise to numerous social and security issues.

Tan, who is Pan Malaysia Koo Soo Restaurants and Chef Association deputy president, said there were 30,000 foreign workers currently employed without permits in Chinese restaurants and coffee shops alone.

Another estimated 9,000 were working in Indian restaurants.

Tan believed that this represents about 30% of the total number of such workers employed in Chinese and Indian restaurants and coffeeshops.

He was speaking to reporters at the MCA Public Services and Complaints Department at Wisma MCA here yesterday.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association (Primas) president Datuk R. Ramalalingam Pillai, who was also at the press conference, said his members always try to hire Malaysians.

“But they tend to leave for better offers. We simply cannot afford to pay them that much,” he said.

Tan said the associations handed a memorandum on the issue to Home Ministry special officer Armizan Mohd Ali on April 6 to be forwarded to minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

Head of the department Datuk Michael Chong, who is also special officer to Hishammuddin, witnessed the handing over of the memorandum.

Chong agreed that sending the workers home would create more problems.

“At least give the workers permits to stay for a year to allow them to organise the necessary paperwork or financial arrangements to go home,” he said.

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