Extend deadline or offer better choices, Govt urged


  • Nation
  • Monday, 03 Jul 2017

PETALING JAYA: Bosses are ho­­ping for either the E-Card registration deadline to be extended or alternatives be given to them.

This is despite the Government making it clear that there will be no budging from the July 1 deadline.

And the Immigration Department has swung into action last Friday midnight.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Sham­suddin Bardan said employers were given ample time to register but most did not seem interested.

“Of course, we cannot blame the employers totally as some of the Government policies discouraged them from registering,” he said, adding that certain conditions were hard to fulfil.

He hoped that the Government would make it easier for employers by providing legal workers quickly.

“Imagine the construction industry, for example. If a huge number of workers are sent back, how can the industry just survive on the legal workers?

“There needs to be a solution so that the economy will not be adversely affected,” he said.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malay­sia’s Datuk Seri Tan Thian Poh also hoped for the deadline to be extended, as well as for the requirements to be relaxed.

Tan, who is the group’s repre­­sentative in the Home Ministry’s foreign workers task force, claimed that only illegal workers who came to Malaysia on or before March 30 last year were eligible to register for an E-Card.

“Those who arrived after that were all rejected. The objective of the E-Card is to register all illegal foreign workers and rehire them legally. The stringent conditions defeat the original objective,” he said.

Urging the Government to lega­lise all illegal foreign workers, Tan said this would also generate additional revenue via levy payments.

“If all employers are allowed to employ foreign workers legally, no employer will want to employ illegal workers,” he said.

Master Builders Association Malaysia president Foo Chek Lee said it hoped that the Government could open up applications for new workers and relax a little on the restrictions, adding that the industry required between 600,000 and 800,000 workers nationwide.

On whether the building and construction industry players were aware of the E-Card registration deadline, Foo said: “Yes.”

Malaysian Indian Muslim Res­taurant Owners Association president Ayoob Khan Muhamad Yakub said some of its members were confused by the information they received.

“Now, we are hoping that the online registration for the rehiring programme will be expedited so we can get legal workers,” he added.

However, the Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry president Tan Sri Kenneth Eswaran slammed businesses and industries who blamed the E-card registration deadline for affecting their industries.

“The Government has given a proper time line for the registration. Businesses with illegal foreign workers should have done this properly.

“Don’t blame the Government for this. We are business people and we must be organised to run a business.

“If you know this will affect your business, why only crowd the Immigration Department office on the last two days? Why not do it in February?” he asked, adding this would be a good lesson to the business community to follow rules and regulations.

On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said there will be no extension to the deadline.

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