YOURSAY | 'Nobody knows if Human Resources Ministry will do a better job, but the changes are at least worth trying.'
Simple Truth: I totally agree with MACC Chief Commissioner Latheefa Koya that the best way to combat corruption involving the recruitment of migrant workers is by allowing the Human Resources Ministry to entirely handle the process, instead of the Home Ministry.
What expertise does the Home Ministry have about the specific needs of the different type of labour sectors in the country?
A better management of the entire recruitment process is needed to safeguard the interest and welfare of the poor migrant workers.
Human rights breaches in the recruitment process are common.
For a long time, migrant workers’ rights have been ignored and they are easily exploited due to loopholes in the system and non-existent monitoring by the relevant authorities.
Even with a new government in place since last year, the unscrupulous agents and middlemen out to make a quick buck are still active. This corruption must be stopped at its source.
Nobody knows if the Human Resources Ministry will do a better job managing the recruitment process but the changes are at least worth trying in an effort to stop the wrongdoings.
MACC has an important role to play by aiding the Human Resources Ministry and monitoring the effectiveness of the recruitment process.
Right now, MACC is an organisation under the Home Ministry, so question marks arise on their readiness to take action even if they find discrepancies within the ministry.
Headhunter: Latheefa is stating the obvious. It is common knowledge that there is high corruption in the industry as foreign workers and employers have been complaining for years.
And the corruption also led to human trafficking, causing massive misery to all those at the receiving end, including deaths, suicides and enslavement.
The reason why it was allowed to go on for years is obvious as those involved in the recruiting and importing of migrant workers are either very powerful people or have connections in high places.
They are the bloodsuckers who profit from the misery of others.
Transferring the recruitment of migrant workers to the Human Resources Ministry is a good start, but it will not solve the problem completely unless there is a concerted effort to stop corruption, which has been so prevalent, including among the government agencies.
The Analyser: Instead of advocating a much-needed complete overhaul of migrant worker policies, we now have another expert wanting to cover up past poor decision-making with a band-aid solution of just switching the ministry in charge.
I fail to see how this switch is going to stop those who have profited lucratively from the flawed recruitment process.
These agents or middlemen will not just close up shop overnight and go away quietly.
Dstar: Indeed, there is no guarantee that by allowing the Human Resources Ministry to take charge of the migrant workers’ hiring, the corruption prevalent in the current system can be totally eradicated.
The Human Resources Ministry’s own track record is nothing to shout about.
The ministry is known for several less-than-inspiring ideas of its own, such as planning to bring in migrant workers from the African continent to work in Malaysia. Luckily, this plan was nipped in the bud after an outcry from the public.
Muruga: The move that needs to be taken to battle corruption in the hiring process is to ban the policy of employers having to use agents.
Instead of relying on agents or middlemen, organisations and businesses must be able to apply directly to select and recruit the migrant workers needed.
Agents operating from a tiny office and without their own businesses, estates or factories get to be involved in importing tens of thousands of workers.
This practice needs to be stopped immediately. Otherwise, even under the charge of the Human Resources Ministry, corruption will continue rampantly.
Siva 1967: Changing the ministry in charge of the entire recruitment process will not be enough to stop corruption. The same so-called agents will now "entice" the Human Resources Ministry officers with cash and whatnot.
It does not matter the responsibility lies under which ministry. The whole system has to change and there should be no middleman or agents involved.
The entire process is controlled by the agents and they charge exorbitant fees to the workers, who in turn have to suffer in the hands of their employers with pathetic living conditions and long working hours.
The keyword here is enforcement but then again, if the enforcement officers had done their tasks efficiently since day one, the present problems afflicting the hiring process would not have cropped up in the first place.
MS: The corruption surrounding the entire process of hiring migrant workers is not a new phenomenon but started several decades ago.
Subsequently, the various form-filling bureaucratic hurdles were deliberately designed to ensure that money could change hands at various stages of the manpower approval racket.
The corruption, which the MACC chief commissioner speaks about, has its genesis in something else - the less than stellar education and labour policies over the last 60 years that necessitated the importation of workers to perform the real work of infrastructure development and meeting demands in manufacturing and services.
Wak Kanto: The decision taken more than 20 years ago during Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s first tenure as prime minister to allow the Home Ministry to be in charge of the process of employing migrant workers has enriched many people, including the recruiting agents.
This policy does not benefit the employer nor the workers themselves and must be stopped immediately.
Quantum: Many well-connected crooks have been making big money under the current migrant workers’ recruitment system.
The government needs to come up with a new system to stop this profiteering at the expense of mostly poor migrants. It will be good if the MACC is given a prominent role in the new system to tackle corruption.
Anonymous 7566803b: Change is good. And it makes sense to have the recruitment of migrant workers parked under the Human Resources Ministry, as its officers are better equipped to deal with the labour issues concerned.
Vijay 47: I am fully in favour of any approach that can end or at least restrict considerably the savage exploitation of foreign workers in Malaysia.
Latheefa has suggested that this can be achieved if the entire recruitment exercise is transferred to the Human Resources Ministry from the Home Ministry where corruption is rife. That appears to be fine.
But how sure can we be that the corruption would not simply transfer itself to the new location? Man’s ingenuity for the quick buck has no limits.
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