Real danger of business going bust
SME Association of Malaysia president Michael Kang said 80% of the 650,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the country will go bust if the Immigration Department goes ahead to seize and freeze assets of employers found harbouring illegal immigrants from next month.
Describing the planned action as improper, he said eight out of 10 SMEs have illegal workers and these operators will have to close shop if their assets are frozen, Nanyang Siang Pau reported yesterday.
Malaysia needs adequate supply of labour to ensure its economic growth is not hindered, he said, adding that the Immigration move to enforce this tough measure will seriously affect the country’s economy.
He explained that many SME operators are using illegal labour because of the high costs as well as red tape involved in the illegal foreign workers rehiring programme. Furthermore, there is no guarantee of success in trying to obtain work permits for their illegal workers under the programme, he said.
He lamented that those who seek foreign workers through employment agencies have to pay exorbitant fees, eventhough there is also no guarantee that all workers supplied are legal.
Kang said the government should come up with a reasonable foreign worker management system as part of the efforts to solve the issue of illegal foreign workers once and for all.
“As we don’t have a proper system to manage foreign workers, the policy changes every time there is a change in the minister-in-charge, causing confusion and prolonging the problem of illegal workers,” he said.
He said a proper system should, for example, allow those who need foreign labour to submit applications online without going through the middleman.