Several source countries which do not employ third-party agencies for their foreign worker recruitment process are unclear about how the Malaysia’s single hiring system would affect them.
Philippines Embassy labour attache Elizabeth Marie Estrada said it is the Philippines government which accredits and regulates some 200 recruitment agencies that are based in Malaysia.
She said the current system is working well as the recruitment agencies are free to operate competitively, but with some degree of control from the Philippines government.
“We ensure that the domestic workers from our country do not pay any agent fees while general workers pay the equivalent of a month’s salary as a placement fee to their Philippine agent,” she added.
As such, she said it is not yet clear how the Malaysian government’s plan to implement a common hiring system across all source countries would affect the foreign recruitment process from her country.
“We would have to wait and see what are the plans of the independent committee formed by the Malaysian government,” she said.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the Government will create a single system to hire foreign workers without differentiating the source country.
This follows reports by The Star that a syndicate, led by a Bangladeshi businessman, had offered to facilitate work permit approvals for Bangladeshi workers for a fee of about RM20,000 each.
Indonesian Embassy manpower attache Budi Laksana said workers from his country other than domestic workers, are already being directly hired by employers.
“Employers wishing to hire workers from Indonesia have to get approval directly from the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs,” he said.
Budi said Malaysia and Indonesia need to discuss the recruitment process and pay for domestic workers.
Officials at the Bangladesh, Myanmar and Cambodia embassies in Malaysia declined to comment.
However, recruitment agents for Bangladeshi workers have expressed happiness over the announcement.
“We are happy for our workers are no more required to pay up to RM20,000 to work in Malaysia.
“The syndicates have been taking about RM10,000 for their service to bring in the workers to Malaysia, and this has resulted in the unreasonable hike in the cost of hiring workers,” said Md. Mokbul Hossain Mokul, who operates a recruitment agency in Kuala Lumpur.
Motaleb Ali, who is based in Kuala Lumpur, hoped the Malaysian government will do away with the RM305 imposed upon the Bangladesh workers via the Sistem Perkhidmatan Pekerja Asing (SPPA) system.