MEF: HR Ministry should manage foreign labour

PETALING JAYA: Having all matters related to foreign workers’ management under one roof helps streamline processes and the Human Resources Ministry is a good fit for the job, says a leading employers’ group.

Malaysian Employers Federa-tion (MEF) president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman (pic) said such a move would also enhance efficiency and ultimately improve the management of foreign workers in Malaysia.

“MEF is of the view that the Human Resources Ministry is the right ministry to manage all human resources issues, including foreign labour.

“All laws and regulations as well as enforcement fall under the ministry. It is only logical that it should be in charge of matters related to foreign labour,” he said.

His comments come following inefficiencies highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report on the management of foreign workers through the Foreign Workers Integrated Management System (ePPAx) and Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS).

The FWCMS, currently managed by a private entity, should be better handled by the ministry, said Syed Hussain.

Currently, some processes fall under the jurisdiction of the Home Ministry while others come under Human Resources.

“MEF believes that it is critical for the government to determine a single ministry to be fully responsible for managing both the ePPAx and FWCMS.

“This will simplify and streamline the processes, ensuring effective coordination and oversight.”

On Nov 22, the 2022 Auditor-General’s Report highlighted losses on six cases of public funds worth RM681.71mil.

Among the wastage was RM21.35mil for three cases involving the ePPAx and FWCMS, the management of the Marine Protected Area Conservation Programme, and the management of the programme to strengthen the capacity and competitiveness of the construction industry.

Among the cases that were raised related to a system that was not used optimally, 11 of the 14 ePPAx system modules were not used in the foreign worker management process.

Syed Hussain said it was unfortunate that the ePPAx and FWCMS systems, which were intended to enhance the efficiency of managing foreign workers, were not fully utilised.

He said the report pointed out that only one source country, Bangladesh, used the completed 12 modules of FWCMS while 14 other source countries were not ready.

“The government should collaborate with all source countries on the development and usage of FWCMS so that they are ready to implement the system together,” Syed Hussain said.

He added that the ePPAx and FWCMS could have been better implemented if stakeholders, especially employers, were included in the consultation process.

“Stakeholders’ views and feedback are crucial as they are the end-users of the systems. Gaining their buy-in is vital for achieving the desired goals,” he said.

Syed Hussain also highlighted the importance of developing systems that simplify processes and facilitate the recruitment of foreign workers.

“There is no point in developing systems that will not simplify the processes involved, and the government needing to allocate further financial resources,” he said.

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