Govt urged to address labour export freeze quickly


PETALING JAYA: Industry players are calling on the government to quickly address the freeze of labour supply by Indonesia, especially by the ministries concerned.

Some of them also asked the government to look for other source countries to solve the labour shortage problem.

National Association of Human Resources Malaysia (Pusma) president Zarina Ismail wants the Home Ministry (KDN) and Human Resources Ministry (MOHR) to quickly iron out issues pertaining to Indonesian labour supply because this may worsen Malaysian industries that are in dire need of workers.

“The MoU has been signed and agreed by both governments, so there should not be any further issues over it.

“We hope KDN and MOHR will hold discussions to solve this wisely,” she said, referring to the Sistem Maid Online (SMO).

SMO is a system under the Immigration Department that enable the conversion of tourist visas of nationals from several countries, including Indonesia, into work permits.

Yesterday, Indonesian envoy Hermono confirmed that the republic had temporarily stopped receiving new job orders from Malaysia for its workers due to issues pertaining to the SMO.

The system was slated to be replaced by One Channel System (OCS) as agreed by both the Indonesian and Malaysian governments through the signing of the memorandum of understanding on the Employment and Protection of Indonesian Domestic Workers (MoU PDI) in April.

Zarina said the impact of the freeze on job orders would potentially lead to illegal recruitment agencies taking advantage.

“The delays may also cause more Indonesians seeking employment in Malaysia to enter the country illegally, which may expose them to trafficking.

“Employers in Malaysia will also be at risk of getting scammed by other parties,” she added, urging a win-win solution over the prolonged issue.

“The workers (from Indonesia) will still find their way to enter Malaysia to seek employment, which may be through illegal channels,” she said.

Zarina also advised the public planning to hire domestic helpers to shift their interest to other source countries such as Cambodia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka as those countries had a more systematic process.

“Employers can opt for other nationalities, while the issue of Indonesian domestic helpers are rectified,” she added.

Association of Employment Agencies Malaysia (Papa) vice-president Suresh Tan said the ministries should include associations of recruitment agencies to their meetings to get their input too to resolve the problem.

He told The Star that industry experts would be able to provide the policymakers information on ways to modernise recruitment processes.

“It is understandable that the Indonesian government’s concern is that by using SMO, it will expose their citizens to trafficking and abuse as it will not have data of its people.

“One way of modernising the process is by including licensed recruitment agencies in the system, so all of us will have access to the data and be responsible together,” he added.

Tan also said that the new OCS was not in place yet, leaving employers with no way to apply for Indonesian workers.

“If SMO is shut down and OCS is put up, can the recruitment agencies apply for it now?

“The system itself is yet to be implemented properly,” he said, adding that improving the existing system should be prioritised.

Malaysian Maid Employers Association (Mama) president Engku Ahmad Fauzi Engku Muhsein said that Indonesia’s move had been a disappointment for many Malaysians seeking the services of its citizens

Malaysia, he said, should find other source countries for workers such as Cambodia as soon as possible.

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