PUTRAJAYA has been criticised for mooting a proposal that seeks to make use of undocumented migrants in detention centres so that the government can reduce the cost of their upkeep.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said while it welcomed the government’s move to rely less on foreign labour, Home Minister Hamzah Zainuddin’s proposal to allow employers to recruit undocumented migrants in a move to save costs was “reckless and counter-productive” especially during the Covid-19 crisis.
“The government must not be seen as penny wise and pound foolish. The government policies must focus on discouraging millions of foreigners from entering the country illegally to work, therefore reducing the massive outflow of funds from our shores annually and prod employers into offering better terms to hire Malaysians.
“The Home Affairs Ministry should not be in the business of offering employers illegal migrant labour at its detention centres, merely to reduce costs,” MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said in a statement today.
The union also said that all undocumented workers had the right to be legalised. “Otherwise, we will be considered as discriminating foreign workers and once again make international headlines for the wrong reasons,” he said.
The government, Solomon said, should work on implementing better policies to address local unemployment and reduce the country’s dependence on migrant labour.
“This policy by itself will not be effective if employers are allowed to hire foreigners who have been detained. Instead, attention should be centred on tighter enforcement to stop human trafficking rings to smuggle foreign workers into the country,” he said. – June 23, 2020