Sunday, September 20, 2009

More job openings but locals not keen

By DESIREE TRESA GASPER

JOHOR BARU: Businessmen in various industries are pressing the Government to relax regulations on the hiring of foreign workers as orders start to come in again and more jobs are being offered – but locals just do not seem to be interested in filling up the vacancies.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said the Government had made it difficult for local industries to hire foreign workers to ensure locals had a fair chance at employment, but now, a different set of problems has emerged.

He added the issue of workers was a major concern during a recent dialogue session with industry players.

“Many said that the economy was improving and that orders were on the rise for various sectors.

“They voiced their concern that although more jobs are being offered, the take-up level was still low,” he said.

Another dialogue with the employers is scheduled for next month to find a solution to the problems.

“We have to change the mindset of the local workers and ensure that they grab the opportunities available to them,” said Dr Subramaniam.

Many local workers were not keen to take up jobs available in various sectors, he added.

“Employers especially those in the plantation, construction and services sectors such as restaurants prefer hiring foreigners,” he said.

Asked if he meant many young Malaysians were becoming choosy or even lazy, he said that youngsters these days might have a different thinking especially with many of them still being supported by their parents.

“They just come and work and leave within days, unlike foreign workers,” he said at a career carnival here yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam said this problem needed to be addressed to prevent it from affecting the national economy. - The Star

It’s RM500, not RM800 for maids

EXCLUSIVE
By PAUL GABRIEL

KUALA LUMPUR: The Indonesian Embassy will renew passports of maids if employers agree to pay them a minimum monthly salary of RM500 and not RM800 as reported.

Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia Gen Da’i Bachtiar said the embassy would be flexible although the benchmark set was RM600.

“If the maid is happy with a RM550 or a RM500 wage, the embassy will renew her passport when the employer seeks to extend her services.

“The benchmark we are setting is RM600. But it is between the maid and her employer to decide on what is acceptable. But it can’t be lower than RM500,” he told The Star.

Gen Bachtiar was clarifying reports that he had set a RM800 minimum wage before the embassy would renew the passports of Indo­nesian maids. This drew criticism from various sectors here which said RM800 was too steep.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil described the wage limit as not feasible.

Clarifying his position, Gen Bachtiar said he had probably been misunderstood during a recent buka puasa event he hosted for Indo­nesian workers here.

“Many told me that their monthly wage was below RM500. I asked the factory workers how much they were paid and found out that their wages were even lower.

“I said this should not be, as factory workers are categorised under the formal sector and should receive higher pay up to at least RM800. This could have been misunderstood by the media to mean RM800 for domestic workers as well,” he explained.

On Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam having confirmed that Indonesia had asked for the RM800 minimum wage for maids, Gen Bachtiar said he was unaware of that.

“There must be a reasonable limit set. Our maids, with the same ability level as the ones sent here, earn RM1,600 in Hong Kong and Taiwan, between RM600 and RM750 in Saudi Arabia, and RM700 in Singapore.

“Their wage in Malaysia, in the peninsula, is between RM500 and RM600 on the average. But in Sabah and Sarawak, it is as low as RM200 to RM300,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Kluang, Subramaniam said the Government might consider reducing the RM445 annual levy charged for employing Indonesian maids to ease employers’ burden.

The minister, however, did not disclose the proposed amount after opening the National Job Carnival 2009 yesterday.

Employers had expressed concern with the high agency fees incurred for employing Indonesian maids which could cost between RM6,000 and RM7,000 for each maid.

Speaking of the request for the Indonesian maids’ salary to be raised above RM800 a month, Subramaniam said such a request had never been made by the Indonesian administration. - The Star

Indonesian maids’ levy may be reduced

KLUANG: The Human Resource Ministry may consider reducing levy charged for employing Indonesian maids to help ease the burden of employers.

Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, however, did not disclose the proposed amount, since the matter had yet to be discussed with his Indonesian counterpart.

"We will discuss the prospect of reducing levy for employing Indonesian maids, with the Indonesian authorities," said Subramaniam after opening the National Job Carnival 2009 here Saturday.

He added that his ministry would table a proposal to reduce levy on Indonesian maids during a joint meeting next month or the month after.

Employers in the country had expressed concern over the high charges incurred for employing Indonesian maids which can cost between RM6,000 to RM7,000 for each maid. On the proposal that the salary of Indonesian maids be raised above RM800 a month, Subramaniam said such a proposal or request had never been made by the Indonesian authorities.

"Such calls were only heard from the country's non-governmental organisations and not from the Indonesian government," he said.

The ministry would only consider requests from the Indonesian government, he said. - The Star

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