ECRL extension to bring foreign workers approved to avoid interruption, says Saifuddin

PUTRAJAYA: The extension to bring in foreign workers for the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project was approved to avoid any interruption in its progress, says Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail.

He said that the project contractor – China Communications Construction (ECRL) Sdn Bhd – will be allowed to extend the timeline to bring in foreign workers despite the May 31 deadline.

“The ECRL project is a high-impact project and they are time-sensitive. They have been awarded the quota (to bring in foreign workers), however, they are also affected by the deadline that has been set.

“Through the meeting, we have approved for them to extend the deadline to bring in foreign workers so that the progress will not be disrupted,” he said, however, did not specify the extension period.

Saifuddin said this at the joint meeting between the Human Resources Ministry and Home Ministry on Migrant Workers Management on Monday (May 20).

Meanwhile, Human Resources Minister Steven Sim said implementation of the multi-tier levy mechanism to reduce recruitment of foreign workers is slated to commence next January.

He said the ministry would need to study several details including the threshold of the levy for the mechanism before being tabled to the Cabinet for the implementation.

“This mechanism aims to provide incentives for the local economic sector to reduce their reliance on foreign labour while encouraging the recruitment of local talents.

“The implementation of the mechanism is expected to be in January as several details still need to be studied alongside the Human Resources Ministry, Economy Ministry and other relevant agencies.

“This includes studying the threshold of the levy to be imposed before presenting it to the Cabinet,” he added.

On May 9, Sim said the revenue from the multi-tier levy would be channelled to upskill local workers, particularly from small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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