IPOH: Are some employers tipping off the Immigration Department against their own undocumented foreign workers to avoid settling their wages?
That is an allegation the home ministry is investigating, its minister Hamzah Zainudin said.
“We cannot simply blame employers for allegedly lodging reports. Before conducting raids, we conduct investigations with certain strategies to ensure that employers abide by the law.
“It is the same with temporary work pass (PLKS) holders and levy payment. If anything happens, we will investigate the workers, including to determine if they have been paid wages that are due to them; where they were employed; and who hired them.
“And we will claim (unpaid wages) on their behalf. All this will be done to ensure justice is served to all parties,” he told reporters after attending a Malaysia Prihatin programme at Dewan Serbaguna Bandar Baru Tambun here today.
He was asked to comment on claims that some employers reported to the Immigration Department about undocumented foreign workers at building sites to avoid paying them wages upon completion of a project.
Yesterday, the department arrested a number of illegal immigrants working at a construction site in Setapak, Kuala Lumpur, and some netizens claimed these raids were the result of tip-offs by their employers.
On another matter, Hamzah said industry players had made 40,000 requests to bring in foreign workers for the plantation sector.
However, the government needed further studies on the standard operating procedures involving vaccination, quarantine and accommodation before allowing the recruitment of foreign workers in this sector, he added.
“If we want to allow them to enter, we have to determine who will pay for the costs of Covid-19 tests, quarantine and whether employers have adequate facilities to house those cleared to work,” he said.
The recruitment of foreign workers in the plantation industry has been frozen following the Covid-19 pandemic. It has been reported that the local plantation sector is still short of more than 500,000 workers despite having 220,000 locals and 265,397 foreigners registered as workers.