Malaysiakini News

Gerakan slams 24-hour policy reversal on migrant worker levies

Published:  |  Modified:

Gerakan vice-president Dominic Lau has slammed Putrajaya’s drastic policy about-turn on migrant worker levies.

Lau pointed out that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng walked back his Monday announcement that employers would foot just 20 percent of the RM10,000 levy for migrant workers.

Just one day later, Lim said that employers would foot the entire bill after hearing complaints from migrant workers and trade unions.

“This has clearly become the norm for how the current government deals with issues. 

“It also shows that the government had not thought through the issue or consulted stakeholders prior to making the announcement,” the Gerakan leader said in a statement yesterday.

As the finance minister explained, the annual levy of RM10,000 only applies to migrant workers who have worked in Malaysia for more than 10 years, and are allowed to extend their permit for a maximum of three.

“However, they (the migrant workers) complained they could not pay their portion amounting to RM8,000, so the government has decided to revert to the original levy structure whereby the RM10,000 payment is borne fully by the employer,” Lim said yesterday.

Lau also suggested that neither policy is ideal, since imposing a hefty levy on foreign workers would encourage them to enter the country and seek work without proper documentation.

But having employers foot the RM10,000 levy, he added, would increase production costs, drive up prices and harm consumers.

Lau said the government should instead maintain status quo for the time being, and find the best way forward after consulting stakeholders.

 

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