Govt blacklists ‘dishonest’ company

Saifuddin Nasution

PETALING JAYA: The company that allegedly duped 171 Bangladeshis by promising them jobs in Pengerang, Johor, has been blacklisted.

In a joint statement, Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and Human Resources Minister Steven Sim said the company will be barred from applying for new foreign workers or having any transaction with the Immigration Department, including renewing the PLKS (temporary working pass) for existing workers.

They listed these among the joint actions taken by the two ministries against exploitative acts of irresponsible employers or companies towards foreign workers, citing the Pengerang case.

“The company will also have its conditional approval letter issued to employers with levy refunds revoked and have its remaining quota of foreign workers for employers cancelled.

“The ministries will take action against companies under the Immigration Act 1959/63 and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants Act (Atipsom) 2007.

Steven SimSteven Sim

“These actions are to ensure that companies fulfil their responsibilities towards foreign workers,” said the statement issued yesterday.

It added that the companies will also face action under the Employment Act 1955 and the Minimum Standards of Housing, Accommodations and Amenities for Employees Act 1990.

This Act, upon conviction, may result in a fine not exceeding RM50,000 for each offence of neglecting workers in terms of salary payment and not providing conducive accommodation.

“These efforts and actions are in line with ensuring that issues related to foreign worker employment are handled without compromise for the sovereignty of the country’s laws.

“The Home and Human Resources Ministries take this matter seriously and will not compromise with any party involved in cases of exploiting foreign workers, leading to forced labour and human trafficking,” the statement said.

It also said both ministries will monitor and inspect companies which bring in foreign workers through the Foreign Worker Employment Flexibility Plan.

This decision was made after the Human Resources Ministry had summoned the employer involved in the Pengerang incident for a session that was also attended by relevant agencies and Home Ministry representatives on Dec 28.

The case involving the Bangladeshi workers came to light on Dec 25 after the foreigners, armed with valid permits, lodged a police report against their agent because they had remained jobless for more than three months in the country.

The joint statement said a special meeting is also scheduled between the two ministers for Jan 16 to discuss and propose to the Cabinet the freezing of foreign worker employment quota applications and further measures to improve the governance of foreign worker employment in the country.

Last December, the then Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar had said the Cabinet’s decision to freeze the quota of hiring foreign workers until 2024 was still in effect.

He said that based on the 12th Malaysia Plan, the number of foreign workers should not exceed the projection of 2.4 million individuals until 2025, but the latest number had reached that threshold.

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