Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Malaysian Home Minister: No ban on worker intake

Home Minister: No Ban On Worker Intake
P. S. Suryanarayana
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia on Wednesday said there never was a move to suspend or stop intake of workers from India. Nor was it seeking to limit the flow of professionals into its information technology sector and other specialty areas.
Making a statement to "clear the air" following some reports (not in The Hindu) about such a freeze, Home Minister Mohd Radzi Sheikh Ahmad said: "Let me categorically state that the Ministry of Home Affairs has never come up with any sort of ruling or circulars to say that we are stopping [and] we have stopped taking foreign workers from India, what more, those people who are professionals."
Mr. Radzi told a press conference that no ban was clamped on recruitment of temple priests from India or anywhere else. However, Malaysia would like to encourage the appointment of priests from within its ethnic Indian minority. New applications for priests from India would be considered case by case. As for renewals of work visas for Indian priests, "we go for stringent interview." At the same time, there was "never" an attempt to "slash" the period of renewals.
About inviting Indian professionals, Mr. Radzi said: "I don't think there is any limit. It is up to the demand-and-supply [dynamics]."
He said: "In October [last year], we did make a decision to suspend, to freeze for a while, the intake from Bangladesh. Because, we found that the [employment] agents on both sides had not done their work, resulting in unfair treatment of [those] workers."
Based on the "lesson" drawn, Malaysia wanted to "make sure" that a "system that is more orderly" would be adopted to safeguard the interests of workers from the "source countries," he said, emphasising that the initiative applied to India as well.
Following this, "more stringent" practices were under way. Potential employers would first have to secure a go-ahead certificate from the Ministry of Human Resource. These certificates would be vetted by a small inter-ministerial panel before final approval. This system was devised to end the practice of Malaysian employers going in for "lavish" recruitment of cheap foreign labour.

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