SUBANG: The Government will not fully lift the freeze on hiring new foreign workers until irresponsible employers change their attitude towards the welfare of their migrant workers.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed (pic) said that employers, mainly SMEs, prefer to use middlemen and agents in hiring foreign workers so that they do not have to be responsible for the welfare of their workers like housing and medical aid.
"There are 700,000 illegal migrant workers in the construction industry, but only about 100,000 have registered in the Rehiring programme.
"They give a lot of excuses but the truth is they prefer using the agents. They don't even want to pay the levy," he said.
Nur Jazlan was speaking to reporters after delivering a speech at INTI International University and Colleges’ Subang campus on Wednesday.
Nur Jazlan said the conditions the migrant workers are forced to live in are often deplorable.
"Go and see construction sites, those things look like real chicken coops. Why can't they provide proper and safe housing like in Singapore?" he said.
He said the influx of undocumented foreign maids is however due to the additional terms being demanded by their countries of origin.
"The Philippines are asking that the minimum wage should be USD400 (RM1660.76), not many can afford that.
"Indonesia wants their maids to not be stay-in maids. They all keep changing their terms and that is why most resort to illegal methods," he said.
Nur Jazlan also questioned the recent study, called Global Slavery Index 2016 by the Walk Free Foundation, that approximately 129,000 individuals, or 0.4% of Malaysia’s population are still trapped in modern slavery.
"Where did they get their figures and what methods did they use to gather this information? Was it scientific?" he said.
He said that there would be evidence of such cases if they existed.
"Lets ask Malaysians, did they see such cases of modern slavery?
"If there was, I am sure police reports would have been made, the police would know, the relevant NGOs would know, but why is there no report?" he said
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