PETALING JAYA: The government should standardise the levy fees for the extension of foreign workers who have worked in the country for more than a decade at RM2,000 for all sectors, says MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).
“At the end, the entire levy will be borne by the employers, so why not standardise it at RM2,000 as what is imposed on the agriculture sector?
“Only then will it fulfil the market expectations,” said Dr Wee in a Facebook posting yesterday.
The government announced it will lower the extension levy fees for foreign workers who have worked in the country for more than 10 years starting from March.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the lowering of levies will apply to five sectors from March 1, 2019 to Feb 29, 2020.
For the manufacturing, services and construction sectors, the levy will be lowered from RM10,000 to RM6,000, while for the agriculture and plantation sectors, the levy will be lowered from RM3,500 to RM2,000.
Dr Wee pointed out that in September last year, Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran announced that the Cabinet had agreed to an extension for three years for such workers with a levy fee of RM10,000 annually borne by the employers.
“However, on Sept 24, Lim announced in Penang that employers only need to bear 20% of the levy and the remaining 80% will be paid by the foreign workers.
“The announcement was criticised by SME entrepreneurs and they felt that the Pakatan government did not understand the main issue, which is the high levy rates.
“In other words, what was asked was to reduce the levy rate, which does not reach RM1,850 a year. Doesn’t the Finance Minister understand such a simple matter,” questioned Dr Wee.
Dr Wee also questioned why the reduction of the levy fee was only for one year, instead of the whole three-year extension period.
“Go to the ground and face the SME entrepreneurs, understand their problems and burdens,” he said, adding he had raised this issue in Parliament last October during the Budget 2019 debates.
Dr Wee also said the issue of the shortage of foreign workers has been wide spread and the Pakatan government is feeling the heat and gave some leeway, owing to several upcoming by-elections.
“As far as I am concerned, Lim has not just made U-turn, but in fact made a J-turn where the decision has not met the demands and the needs entirely,” he said.