Labour Dept to set up special unit handling migrant workers’ grievances, says Sim

KUALA LUMPUR: A special unit will be set up under the Labour Department to handle complaints and grouses from migrant workers, says Steven Sim.

"Their (migrant workers) situation is unique as they may not dare come forward to complain.

"A local worker who lodges a complaint against an employer with the department can still go back to his home.

"But a foreign worker who comes forward to complain will most probably get locked out of his hostel," the Human Resources Minister told reporters after speaking at the Concorde Club meeting on Thursday (May 9).

Sim said that the setting up of the special unit should not be seen as providing preferential treatment to migrant workers but a more humane approach of dealing with their complaints against unjust treatment.

He said that the unit would provide the necessary guidance to complainants based on their rights.

He noted that the idea was mooted just before the May Day celebrations on May 1 during a meeting with several non-governmental organisations dealing with migrant workers.

"I immediately directed the Labour Department to come up with the standard operating procedure and on how best to set up the unit," he added.

Asked when the unit would be set up, Sim said that no time frame has been given at the moment.

Meanwhile, Sim also said that the ministry has allocated RM50mil to set up an internship fund under a special programme to get more companies to offer internships.

"We are targeting between 30,000 and 50,000 participants to undergo an internship under the programme," he said.

The Ilham Kesuma programme will be managed by Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp), he added.

He said that companies participating in the programme will be eligible for double tax deductions including using up to 50% of the HRDF Corporation levy for the purpose.

Based on feedback from industries, Sim said that up to 40% of interns end up taking up employment with the companies where they had done their internship.

The Concorde Club is an informal group of editors and senior journalists meeting with politicians and key policy makers.

Previous guests of the Concorde Club, led by Star Media Group advisor and Bernama chairman Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai, included Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, opposition leader Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan, Anthony Loke and Nurul Izzah Anwar.

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