PETALING JAYA: The recalibration exercise involving undocumented foreign workers will be useful to set things right in the private security sector, according to the Security Industry Association of Malaysia (PIKM) Selangor chapter.
Its chairman Datuk Dr S. Prabakaran said several security companies resorted to employing undocumented migrant workers as security guards to save costs.
“When the government enforced an increase in the minimum wage, it had an impact on businesses. This made some companies take in undocumented workers from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh to work as security guards and pay them lower salaries.
“Some did not pay for their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and made no contribution to Socso,” he told The Star.
He said such illegal employment cost the government tax revenue as the employers avoided paying the charges and fees stipulated.
Prabakaran stated that the government’s recalibration programme would provide employers with the opportunity to legally hire security guards.
He said employers would only need to spend RM4,000 at most to recruit these illegal guards, who were already in Malaysia under the programme.
In comparison, he said companies needed to spend at least RM5,000 to hire a fresh security guard from Nepal, the only source country recognised by the government for the security sector.
He urged the government to revisit the plan for the recruitment of security guards from other source countries, such as Bangladesh.
“The demand for security guards has steadily increased after two years of the pandemic, and the supply of guards from Nepal will not be enough.
“Before the change of government, there was already a plan to bring in Bangladeshis as security guards, but now we have to start all over again,” he said.
Chico Force Sdn Bhd group adviser Datuk Seri Junior Khoo concurred, saying the proposal to add more source countries for security guards must be reconsidered.“The previous Home Minister said the government wanted to take in guards from other countries to support the security sector. But we are left confused now.
“The demand for security guards is very high, so I hope that the government will take a good look again,” he said.
Khoo said that while the recalibration programme could help address the shortage of security guards, the authorities must also ensure the illegal workers were screened properly.
Meanwhile, the Nepal Embassy said its undocumented workers’ interest in the recalibration programme “is not just limited to the security sector”.
First Secretary Pratik Karki said 70% of Nepalis working in Malaysia were in the manufacturing sector, followed by the service, agriculture and plantation sectors.
“Of course, we want the undocumented workers to be legalised through the recalibration programme. And we want them to be absorbed into any of the sectors as long as the employers follow the relevant labour laws of Nepal and Malaysia, as well as the standards set by the International Labour Organisation,” he said when contacted.
According to the embassy’s data, as at September last year, there were a total of 202,860 Nepali workers across all sectors in Malaysia.
Pratik said the embassy hoped that the Malaysian government would reintroduce the amnesty programme as there was a significant number of undocumented workers who preferred to return home.
The Immigration Department recently announced the Labour Recalibration Programme 2.0 (RTK 2.0) which will allow employers to register illegal foreign workers.
The maiden labour recalibration exercise was held in November 2020 before ending in December 2021.
The department had also previously introduced “BackForGood” schemes in 2019 and 2021 where individuals who overstayed would pay a compounding fee and be repatriated to their home countries.