New foreign workers’ levy policy ill-conceived, Putrajaya told

Sim Kiang Chiok

KUCHING, Sept 25: The federal government should reconsider its new foreign workers’ levy policy as it is bad for industry.

Federation of Chinese Associations of Kuching, Samarahan and Serian Divisions president Dato Richard Wee said the policy would drive foreign workers away from Malaysia, while Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developer Association (Sheda) Kuching chairman Sim Kiang Chiok said it “would not reduce the cost of doing business”.

They were responding to the recent announcement by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng that foreign workers staying in Malaysia for more than 10 years would have to foot 80 per cent of the RM10,000 levy imposed when they apply for an extension for a maximum of three years.

Employers, on the other hand, will have to settle the remaining 20 per cent.

Datuk Richard Wee

Wee lamented that charging RM10,000 levy was already a heavy burden on the employers and industries.

“And now the government has decided that 80 per cent of the levy is to be borne by the (foreign) workers, would you think the workers would want to come to Malaysia to work?” Wee asked DayakDaily.

He personally thought that the government did not think through the policy thoroughly and only reacted to the complaints and feedback they received from the industries.

Stating that the federal government “has not been inclusive in their decision-making process”, Wee said the policy would have adverse effects on industries that depend heavily on foreign workers, especially the experienced ones.

Sim said regardless of how the RM10,000 levy were to be split between the foreign workers and the employers, the fact remained that it would not reduce the cost of doing business or reduce foreign workers in the country when the workforce is required to propel the country’s growth.

“The government should reduce the levy amount to reduce the cost of living.

“When a country has more than 96 per cent employment rate and less than 4 per cent unemployment rate, it means, in economic terms, the country’s workforce is fully employed. So looking for workers will be difficult,” he explained.

Thus, he said, it was time to reduce the levy to attract more foreign workers, instead of the other way round. — DayakDaily