Foreign workers still abused, opaque contracts causing M'sia to be in Tier 3, says Wong Chen

29 Jul 2022 12:09am
Subang MP Wong Chen says the only way to reach tier one is by improving governance and transparency.
Subang MP Wong Chen says the only way to reach tier one is by improving governance and transparency.

SHAH ALAM - An opposition MP said foreign workers are still subjected to a lot of abuse with opaque contracts, causing Malaysia to remain in Tier 3 of the US State Department’s annual human trafficking report.

Subang MP Wong Chen said the only way to move up the ladder to tier one is to improve its governance.

"It is quite obvious that the entire sector of migrant workers is subjected to a lot of abuse and opaque contracts. All these problems stem from lack of governance," he said during Sinar Daily's Wacana "Addressing Malaysia's Labour Shortage".

Others at the talk were Malaysian Employers Federation Executive Director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, North-South Initiative (NSI) Executive Director Adrian Pereira and Our Journey Director Sumitha Shaanthinni Kishna.

He said better enforcement was needed on those who made a lot of money at the expense of workers. "Employers pressure, squeeze them for every drop of their blood and to make every sen, exploiting workers," he said.

Wong said the onus is on the government to improve governance.

"Be transparent, be clear, work on data, talk to the employers, talk to the NGOs. We cannot be a nation where we have such a bad reputation, it's just terrible for economics, so let's start with governance," he urged.

He said transparency and data-driven analytics were crucial in solving the issue.
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For locals, he said reskilling programmes have been ongoing for over a decade. "Every manifesto, every government policy has long chapters on reskilling. But we would like to see the budget being spent on this," he added.

Nothing much to show on reskilling

Reskilling, he said should be targeted at those who lose their jobs and need to change their career to get hired.

He said the government should share data on the impact and cost of effectiveness for every RM100 mill spend to know if our taxpayers' money is well spent.

"Until there is more transparency and more data, I can't comment too much but as far as I know there is nothing much to show for," he added.
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