PAPAR: A comprehensive database is essential for Sabah to effectively manage migrant labour and prevent abuses, said Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) vice president Datuk Johnny Mositun.
He said this in turn will contribute to a reduction in crime and social problems that threatened security.
In this respect, he said the directive by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal for the Ministry of Trade and Industry to compile data on the number of workers needed by the respective industry in the state.
Mohd Shafie had issued the directive on Friday during his visit to Keningau where he inspected several industrial establishments.
The Chief Minister had stressed that migrant labour and illegal immigrants were two different issues and needed to be addressed separately.
Mositun who is also PBS Pantai Manis chief said a proper data base that can be shared between different government agencies including those in charge of security and law enforcement, will be of immense value in rationalising and controlling migrant labour in Sabah.
“The Chief Minister’s clarification that documentation of migrant workers is not the same as issuing Malaysian identity cards or granting citizenship should be noted.
‘The two should be kept separate and the respective authorities must be allowed to do their work unhindered. That will lend itself to a more efficient and effective administration,” Mositun said.
He also said the issue of migrant labour was complex and confusing because it had long been exploited by certain quarters for quick profits.
Refusing to blame any quarters, Mositun said it was also in order for the state to have full control over labour and immigration matters.
“There is a co-relation between the two. Everybody knows about our immigration powers as provided for under MA63 but the State Government must also be as concerned about the supremacy of our own Labour Ordinance and ensure that Enactments eroding our independence and full powers over labour are accordingly rectified, Mositun said.
He said it would be a good move to place recruitment of migrant labour directly under the State Labour Department .
“We know our labour needs. There is absolutely no need for the Federal Government to be involved or to appoint agents. Our own Labour Department can do this. Also, levies and taxes on foreign workers should be state revenue, he said.
Mositun also noted that the present migrant labour recruitment procedures actually encouraged corruption, profiteering, inefficiencies and exploitation of foreign workers.
He said the Chief Minister must address these matters which were adding to the cost of hiring migrant workers.
“The Parliament is also preparing to provide for the retention of 20 per cent of foreign workers wages till they return to their countries of origin.
“The impact on migrant workers, mostly low wage earners, is yet to be known, so we had better be prepared. The bottomline is Sabah should handle our own labour affairs, Mositun said.-SabahNewsToday