Kula: We need to tackle illegal workers issues first before signing MOUs with other countries

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is taking a step back on signing Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with other countries regarding foreign labour, because it first wants to tackle the issue of illegal foreign workers.

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran (pic) said Malaysia is currently negotiating with countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam on the issue of illegal migrant workers who overstay their tenure.

“Countries like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, when they sign the MOU, they have the condition that the government of source countries would have to take stern action to take back their workers who have overstayed and who are undocumented,” he said.

This is especially so since Malaysia has been downgraded to the Tier 2 Watchlist on the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report for 2018, according to Kula.

“If we go one more (tier) down, we would have sanctions by all major countries in the world, which means that foreign countries will not want to invest in this country,” he said at a press conference at the 25th Asean Labour Ministers’ Meeting at a hotel here Wednesday (Nov 28).

Meanwhile, Kulasegaran said the government is in the final stages of preparing the amendments to the Employment Act 1955, which are expected to be tabled in March 2019.

“We’ve already had discussions with stakeholders and NGOs.

“Come March, we should have massive amendments,” he said.