Johari Abdul Ghani calls for stern action against recruiters who fail to provide jobs to foreign workers

Image courtesy of YB DS Johari Abdul Ghani’s FB

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 6 : Plantation and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani has reiterated his call to the government to take stern measures against companies that mislead foreign workers with employment offers and then abandon them once they get in Malaysia.

He said to prevent Malaysia from becoming known as a refuge for forced labour and human trafficking, the government must address the persistent problem.

While breaking down the problems surrounding the foreign workers in the country, Johari stressed the importance of further tightening the group’s recruitment procedures, which includes only allowing companies to get quotas of foreign workers when they apply for the manpower themselves.

“The issue here is there’s a possibility that some companies are asking for quotas of foreign workers without actually having any opening for jobs… they are just trying to make money by selling quotas to other companies. This is deemed as human trafficking or forced labour.

“It is vital that government addresses this prolonged issue of foreign workers being deceived into coming here for work, and if it continues, Malaysia’s image will be tarnished, without any repercussions against those responsible,” he said in a statement today.

Johari, who previously had suggested a fine of up to RM30,000 per worker to be imposed against companies that fail to provide jobs for foreign workers that they bring in, said that those agencies or employers that are not involved in such practices should not be worried about being fined by the authorities.

He said his proposal for irresponsible companies and agencies to be fined was also meant as a deterrence against unscrupulous parties from exploiting the system but received an objection from the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai.

The minister, however, reiterated that those not out to exploit foreign workers have nothing to fear and should not be worried about getting fined.

“FMM cannot point fingers because agencies cannot apply for quotas without first getting demands from companies. If there is proof that agencies are using fake documents to artificially increase the quota asked for, then it is the agencies that would be fined heftily,” he said.

Johari, who suggested the proposal during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday to examine this recruitment dilemma, claimed that the problem was affecting all industries, including the plantation industry, which is struggling with a labour shortage.

The member of parliament for Titiwangsa then said that the proposed penalty would be proportionate to the offences committed and would also pay for the present government-funded expense of repatriating the foreign workers.

Johari stated he felt obliged to submit the proposal following the media reports on Dec 25 about the arrest of 171 Bangladeshi labourers who went to the Bayu Damai police station in Kota Tinggi Johor to file a complaint against their agent, who they claimed had not given them jobs.