Employers and industry players want the Government to provide more clarity on the new hiring programme for foreign workers.

This follows a meeting between SME Association of Malaysia, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) and leaders from various industries yesterday.

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang (pic) said employers had no clue on how to apply for new foreign workers after the government decided to stop using the Foreign Worker Application System (SPPA), from Sept 1.

“For employers who have already paid to get foreign workers, they do not know what to do next,” said Kang.

0n March 25, 2016, the Cabinet decided that the levy, amounting up to RM10,000 per worker each year, would be paid by employers from Jan 1 this year.

Separately employers also pointed out that legal foreign workers are being caught in the Ops Mega 3.0 dragnet.

Kang said the process to get back these workers sometimes took employers between two and three weeks.

These included the time and effort to provide documents to authorities.

Kang said the current situation could impact the country’s economy as many local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are affected.

On Tuesday, Malaysian Em­­ployers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Sham­­suddin Bardan also said legal foreign workers were affected by the raids.

“We understand the Government has every right to come down hard on illegal foreign workers. But some legal foreign workers are also detained and it takes days for them to be released,” he said.

The large-scale operation against illegal immigrants stated earlier this month following the expiry of the 3+1 amnesty programme.

Sham­­suddin said smaller businesses were affected the most by the recent crackdown, as compared to the bigger corporations.He added that restaurants, construction and the plantation sector, especially in Sabah, would also be affected.

“Worse still, the system for us to hire legal foreign workers are not finalised. Everyone is adopting the ‘wait-and-see’ approach. This is not helping the slowing economy.

“We hope the Government can resolve the matter faster and sooner,” he said.

Meanwhile the Immigration Department has denied detaining legal foreign workers during Ops Mega 3.0.

Its director-general Datuk Seri Mustafar Ali explained although illegal and legal foreign workers were checked, those with documentation were released, sometimes even within two hours.

“We do not detain legal foreign workers for one to two weeks as claimed by certain parties. That does not make sense.

“There are instances where we have picked up foreign workers who did not have their documentation during checks.

“But when we are furnished with the proper documentation by the employers, we release them,” he said when contacted.

Article taken from The Star