PETALING JAYA: Requiring foreign workers to carry their passport around is dangerous as it could be lost, stolen or lead to runaway workers, say bosses.
Frustrated with the cessation of the i-Kad, bosses are hoping that it will be re-issued in the future as it is a convenient proof of documentation.
Indian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association president Ayoob Khan Muhamad Yakub said employers under the association now have to let their estimated 30,000 staff carry their passport around.
“Now we have to give them their passport. It’s a difficult problem because we risk workers running away from employers.
“The i-Kad was convenient because whenever there is an operation by the Immigration Department, workers could produce the i-Kad and the officers can verify their status, ” said Ayoob Khan.
He added that employers were in the dark as to why the government decided to stop issuing the i-Kad since July 17.
Original Penang Kayu Nasi
Kandar managing director Burhan Mohamed said the 300 foreign workers under the restaurant chain were given a photocopy page of their employment pass pasted inside their passport, instead of them carrying around their original passport.
“We are worried that if we give them their passport, they might lose it somewhere, ” said Burhan.
“Even when we wanted to give them their passport, they said they’d rather not carry it because they might lose it or misplace it.”
Foreign workers also hope that the i-Kad will be re-issued in the future as it is a hassle to go without it.
Restaurant worker Tony, 33, from Indonesia, was surprised when he did not receive a new i-Kad upon renewing his employment pass.
“I did the renewal in August but was told by my agent that the government is no longer issuing special cards for foreign workers.
“So my employer gave me a photocopy of my employment pass to carry around, ” he said.
The photocopy of Tony’s employment pass resembles an identification card because it was printed in colour, laminated and of similar size to the i-Kad.
He said not having the i-Kad was inconvenient, adding that it could easily be carried in one’s wallet rather than a passport.
Another restaurant worker Puji, 31, who is also from Indonesia, said: “My agent keeps my passport so I only have a photocopy of my employment pass to prove that I’m not illegal. I’ve been working here for three years and hope I won’t get in trouble with the authorities.” Engineer Michael Engelbert, 53, from Germany, said he was told that they were no longer issuing the i-Kad when he renewed his working permit recently.
“I wished this was communicated clearly to all the Immigration officers because not all of them knew.“When I came through the Immigration line at KLIA2 recently, the officer insisted I show her the i-Kad and I had to argue with her that we didn’t have it anymore.
“Eventually she went around asking her colleagues and figured that I was right, ” said Engelbert.
He also said that the cessation of identification cards for foreign workers happened many times before.
“They will later reinstate the system. It’s often because machines issuing the cards are having problems, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Expatriate Talent Service Centre (MYXpats) confirmed that the issuance is currently stopped until further notice for all types of employment passes, including for Employment Pass (EP) category 1, EP category 2 and Residence Pass-Talent (RP-T).
“We are waiting for the official announcement from the Immigration Department regarding this matter, ” it said in an e-mail reply.
MYXpats, a subsidiary of Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd, is a one-stop service centre to process and issue employment and other immigration-related passes for eligible expatriates wanting to work in Malaysia.