Don’t make MyEG services mandatory, says private sector

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KUALA LUMPUR: While supportive of the implementation of the online system for the employment and management of foreign workers, a group representing 32 business associations has called on the government not to make the renewal of the foreign worker temporary permit (PLKS) using the online system provided by MyEG Services Bhd mandatory.

They also called for the mandatory use of the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS), a system designed to recruit, manage and profile foreign workers through the biometric system and operated by Bestinet Sdn Bhd, to be suspended with immediate effect.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia deputy secretary-general Tan Sri Teo Chiang Kok (pic) said the associations and chambers fully support the implementation of an e-government system, but employers must be given the option of using the over-the-counter service provided by the Home Affairs Ministry (KDN).

He said that the government should not pass on the cost for outsourcing its services to a third party and charge the public for these services.

“This is part of the government’s duty. We already pay a levy and licensing fee. This should cover the cost of processing,” Teo told a press conference here yesterday.

He added that the RM38 processing fee per foreign worker charged by MyEG (fundamental: 2.6; valuation: 1.5) would be an additional burden to businesses, and the cost would ultimately be passed on to consumers.

Currently, an employer who wishes to hire a foreign worker will have to pay a total of RM1,692 in various fees including the levy (RM1,250), medical check-up for workers (RM190 for women, RM180 for men), insurance (RM127) and immigration processing fee (RM125).

Effective Jan 5, MyEG’s online service became the only option to renew the work permit of foreign workers. Over-the-counter renewals were discontinued. 

Some quarters complained that this effectively means MyEG has a monopoly on the renewal of the  PLKS. This has led the Malaysia Competition Commission to initiate a probe on MyEG after a complaint was lodged against it.

There were also concerns over additional fees incurred by foreign workers as it is now compulsory to use the FWCMS to obtain entry visas.

“We understand both of these systems are merely under the ‘Proof of Concept’ and only in the ‘test run’ stage. In this regard, the systems should not be made mandatory. Even if they are proven to be efficient, they should only be an option,” Teo said.

Malaysian Plastics Manufacturers Association president Lim Kok Boon said that the various processes involved in the hiring, renewal and repatriation of foreign workers through KDN or the government’s outsourced agents have added to the cost of doing business. Part of this cost has also shifted to foreign workers, thus affecting their income.

Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies president Jeffrey Foo also pointed out the agents in source countries such as Nepal and Indonesia have decided not to send workers to Malaysia due to the increase in the entry visa fee charged by the outsourced agents. 

The 32 associations also proposed that all matters relating to the employment of foreign workers be managed by the Ministry of Human Resources (MoHR), as it is the designated ministry for human resources and labour issues.

“MoHR currently has more than 80 branches throughout the country which can readily be organised to include the provision of foreign worker-related services at their counters,” Teo said.

The associations argued that the role and function of the KDN should be restricted to the issuance of the calling visa after approval has been given by the MoHR.

The associations include the Malaysian Associated Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Malaysian Foundry and Engineering Industries Associations and SME Association Malaysia.

 

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on January 29, 2015.