PLANTATION and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has put forward a bold proposal, suggesting substantial fines for companies bringing in migrant workers without ready employment opportunities.
The Titiwangsa MP envisions that these fines, ranging from RM20,000 to RM30,000 per migrant, could be utilised to fund the repatriation of these workers to their home countries.
He also emphasised the need for companies to ensure job readiness within one month of the migrants’ arrival.
“I want to suggest any company that brings in migrant workers to our country, if within one month (of arrival) they don’t have work, the company must pay a compound of RM20,000 to RM30,000 for each migrant,” Berita Harian quoted him as saying.
“If you bring in 500 workers then multiply by 500, if 1,000 multiply by 1,000, then only is it workable. If they (migrants) don’t have jobs we will send them back using this cost (compounds), if not the government has to foot the cost.”
The proposal comes at a critical time for the plantation sector, known for its heavy reliance on migrant labor.
Last November, news portal Malaysiakini uncovered a syndicate manipulating the government’s migrant worker quota system for illicit gains. The syndicate utilising fake documents, brought in hundreds of workers for nonexistent jobs, leading to dire consequences for the deceived migrants.
The scam has resulted in hundreds of migrant workers – who were duped into thinking they had jobs waiting for them – in dire straits, while at least two migrants brought in by the syndicate have died.
Moreover, this disclosure prompted the Human Resources Ministry to launch an investigation into the fraudulent practices.
Johari’s suggested fines offer a distinctive solution to discourage such malpractices, ensuring that companies prioritise job creation for the imported workforce. – Jan 4, 2023