UNFAIR FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE FOREIGN WORKERS SALARY BY 20%.

UNFAIR FOR THE GOVERNMENT TO REDUCE FOREIGN WORKERS SALARY BY 20%.

It is worrying to hear that the Minister of Human Resources can consider allowing employers to deduct foreign workers’ salaries for Socso by 20 per cent.

The Minister yesterday (15 Dec) had said that he proposed this move to prevent the losses incurred by employers from foreign workers fleeing.

The Government has a responsibility to protect all those living in Malaysia, even foreign workers. We must never forget that we are dealing with human beings and not merely investments.

Most foreign workers in Malaysia, especially unskilled workers, do not earn a lot of money to begin with. In many cases they earn less than Malaysians doing the same job.

Many leave their countries and come here to earn extra for their families back home. In many cases their families live in desperate conditions and cannot afford to wait years before they receive assistance.

Many foreign employees may have also incurred debts from previous employments and with the rising cost of living here in Malaysia, it is getting harder for them to send more money home and have a comfortable live here.

This proposal is unfair to them as a further 20 per cent deduction would surely severely affect their ability to survive in this country.

Did the Ministry also account for those foreign workers who are mistreated by their employers? Withholding their salaries will give these employers more power over foreign workers who are victims of abuse.

The ethics of withholding foreign workers’ salaries is an important one as it involves human rights, dignity, and social justice.

If the Government is serious about solving the issue of foreign workers running away, it must address the root causes of the problem not by implementing discriminatory and unjust policies.

I hope that the National Labour Advisory Council (NLAC) in studying this proposal does not forget to include the views of foreign workers themselves and human rights NGOs.

Meanwhile, I also call on the Government to make the report by the migrant task force public and not keep it a secret like the Council of Eminent Persons and Institutional Reform Committee Reports.

MARIA CHIN ABDULLAH

PETALING JAYA MP