Wednesday, June 18, 2008


KL urged to review foreign workers levy scheme for Sabah


Tawau Member of Parliament Datuk Chua Soon Bui has urged the Federal Government to review the existing levy scheme imposed on foreign workers in Sabah, which was said to be flawed and causing unnecessary loss and inconvenience to the employers. She made the call during the recent 2009 Budget consultation presided by Prime Minister cum Minister of Finance Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in Putrajaya last Thursday. Chua said she had been receiving numerous complaints from employers in the various sectors complaining about the current foreign workers levy scheme. The scheme does not guarantee on the employers’ investment when the foreign workers engaged by them absconded after having worked for two to three months, usually due to pinching of workers by another employer which is still very rampant in Sabah, especially in the plantation sector. Those in the plantation sector are paying RM1,500 per foreign worker and they could engage as many as 100 workers or more, depending on .the size of their plantations. Unfortunately, the affected employers are neither allowed to claim back their levies nor transfer them to others, if they were to engage some workers to replace those who have absconded earlier. This has thus caused great losses to many of them in the past and forced them to resort to employ illegal workers, taking a great risk of being caught and penalized by the relevant authorities. Chua thus hoped the Federal Government could immediately review the existing foreign workers levy scheme for Sabah, to make it more secure for the employers’ investment and they would not resort to engaging illegal workers, a majority of whom are also illegal immigrants. The engagement of illegal workers also contributes to loss of revenues to the Government in terms of foreign worker levies, she added.