KUALA LUMPUR: Bestinet Sdn Bhd has maintained that it had merely started a trial run on the handling of medical checks and e-services for foreign workers coming to Malaysia with no charges being imposed yet.
The company, the solution provider for the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) which has become a controversy and thus subsequently postponed, refuted claims that it is linked to private companies collecting hefty processing fees for foreign worker visas.
Bestinet also claimed that it had not been awarded any contract from the Government but had been allowed to operate on a “proof of concept” basis.
In a press conference yesterday, Bestinet executive chairman Tan Sri Azmi Khalid defended the company’s online system, saying it had the potential to reduce the entry of illegal foreign workers, as well as prevent “leakages” as the online system eliminated the need for physical contact between applicants and government officers.
“I can confirm that Bestinet has nothing to do with and has no links to companies allegedly collecting exorbitant fees for workers’ visas in Nepal and Indonesia. We are doing a trial run and have not even started charging for the service yet,” he told a press conference yesterday.
He said only the Government could decide on imposing fees if and when the “trial” basis had concluded.
Answering grouses by businesses that Bestinet was monopolising the bringing in of foreign workers, Azmi said the company was merely “providing a service”.
“The FWCMS system we have come up with does not exist anywhere else in the world. We spent a lot of money to develop this.
“Seeing that it could be an effective system, the Home Ministry allowed us to run a proof of concept but due to various allegations, it has been postponed,” he said.
On Jan 30, the Immigration Department announced that the implementation of the FWCMS was postponed with immediate effect.
Its deputy director-general Datuk Sakib Kusmi said the postponement would enable the department and the Home Ministry to consider policies and review feedback from various parties especially employers.
Azmi, who is also a former Home Minister, said the company’s handling of personal data for foreign workers should not be a concern as the system was very tight.
“All the data belongs to the Government. While we can collect data, we cannot edit or modify the data in any way,” he said.
Asked whether the company would be taking legal action against the Government, Azmi said that such action would be foolish.
Asosiasi Perusahaan Jasa Tenaga Kerja Indonesia (Apjati) Middle East Division vice-chairman Mahdi Husein, who was also at the press conference, said they had benefitted from the implementation of the FWCMS as it protected their workers’ welfare.
“The problem that we have is not with FWCMS but with another private company assigned by the Malaysian Government to charge steep fees just for the processing of entry visas,” he said.
The steep increase of RM230 in the processing fee for the Entry Visa was imposed in December after the service was outsourced by Malaysian authorities to a private company.
Association of Hospital and Medical Centre for Indonesian Manpower (HIPTEK) Fauzi Abdullah said unscrupulous recruitment agents had been “getting a cut” from clinics which issued fake medical certificates for Indonesian workers to enter Malaysia.
This, he said, was not possible through the FWCMS as the system only accepted medical certificates from government-approved clinics.
“It was a very good system that could prevent fake documents and cut out unscrupulous middle men. Terminating the system is a big mistake,” he said.
In a separate statement, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Paul Low said the Government was in the process of revamping the management of foreign workers.
“As part of the reform, the Government will increase the use of online processing to improve data capture and faster access to information and also to reduce the backlog and waiting time at counters. The Government assures the public that counters will continue to be opened as long as there is still a need for it,” he said.
The Star had earlier highlighted the grouses of businesses over the Home Ministry’s decision to outsource the Immigration Department’s services to private companies.