Ipoh Barat MP M Kulasegaran has criticised Putrajaya for not placing the recruitment and management of migrant workers under the jurisdiction of the Human Resources Ministry. The former human resources minister claimed that the Home Ministry has been reluctant to let go of its exclusive control over the recruitment of foreign labour.

“The Employment Bill was first drafted by the Pakatan Harapan government and was slated to be tabled in Parliament in March 2020 where a (new) Section 60K would be inserted,” Kulasegaran said while debating the bill in the Dewan Rakyat.

Section 60K is related to the intake of foreign workers, where employers would be required to submit an application and obtain prior approval from the director-general of labour.

According to Kulasegaran, the section was included in the initial bill.

Previously, the employers were only required to notify the director-general of the details of the employed foreign workers.

Kulasegeran said thousands of workers were given special permits by the Home Ministry without the knowledge of the Human Resources Ministry.

Muhyiddin objected

Kulasegaran also revealed the resistance faced by the Harapan government, particularly from then Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, in pushing for the bill. “Muhyiddin objected, citing the interference into the business of the Home Ministry,” he said.

Kulasegeran then noted that the cabinet and the attorney-general eventually approved the matter.

Section 60K was not part of the Employment Bill which was tabled by the government for first reading in October 2021.

“(This showed) the Home Ministry wants such exclusive control in the recruitment of migrant workers, and we have a big problem as the Human Resources Ministry doesn’t know where they are working and how many of them,” Kulasegaran said.

The amendment of the Employment Bill is expected to be passed in Dewan Rakyat today.


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