2 of Malaysia’s current employment laws, the Employment Act 1955 and the Worker’s Compensation Act are to be amended as a step to reduce the country’s dependency to foreign workers.
The plan was announced by the Human Resource Minister, Datuk Dr. S Subramaniam to the press yesterday, who told the amendments will be tabled in Parliament upon cabinet’s approval.
Once coming into effect, employers who wish to hire foreign workers will be required to submit a justification of the need and detail out the number of job vacancies to the ministry one month prior to processing the worker’s application.
In other words, foreigners who arrive in the country for work purpose must already have a job offer in hand. The situation is somewhat loose at the moment, where companies, especially those in the outsourcing business, discovered to have brought foreigners without ready jobs. They were only placed in factories later after negotiation with other companies needing foreign workers. The situation in the past, has also given rise to issue of foreigners stranded without jobs and accommodation.
Additionally, housemaids and domestic workers from overseas, who were exempted from insurance coverage will now be included in the protection scheme.
At the moment, there are more than 2 million foreign workers in the country employed in various distinguished industries and job specializations including manufacturing, plantation, services and domestic work. The government plans to reduce the number by 18%, or 1.8 million by the year 2010.