Retrenched migrant workers must be fairly compensated


The federal government says it has no choice but to approve highway toll hikes because the concession agreements stipulate that compensation would have to be paid to the concessionaires if the hikes are not approved.  (We won’t discuss here how they drew up such lopsided agreements in the first place.)

So is it fair to retrench foreign workers who have valid employment agreements without paying them adequate compensation?

LABOUR-MALAYSIA: Hit Foreign Workers First Govt Tells Employers
By Anil Netto

PENANG, Mar 23 (IPS) – An official guideline for employers to retrench their foreign workers ahead of local employees has alarmed civil society society groups who fear that indebted migrant workers could be sent home with inadequate compensation.

Worries about retrenchment and unemployment have been mounting as Malaysia sinks into a recession, its export-oriented economy taking a hit from a slump in global consumer demand.

In the last quarter of 2008, the economy grew by just 0.1 per cent and many fear the economy will shrink this year despite a huge 60 billion ringgit (16 billion US dollars) government stimulus package.

In January, exports dropped by 28 percent and the number of workers employed by the manufacturing sector fell by nine per cent against the previous year.

Thousands have been retrenched in the last few months. Labour Department statistics for the month of January alone show 4,325 workers retrenched of which 2,153 were local and 2,172 foreign. These of course are only reported figures.

The steady rate of retrenchments has worried the government, which has announced a principle of foreign workers first out (FWFO), meaning that employers should lay off foreign workers before they retrench locals.

Even the country’s trade union movement is worried about the influx of migrant workers at a time when retrenchments are rising. Full article here.

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
25 Mar 2009 5.37pm

Well.. i have a very strong evidence showing that there is a MNC in Penang is hiring professional engineers from India while many of our local being retrenched.

25 Mar 2009 11.16am

They will come out with any stories to justify.

But when it comes to their cronies, all these contracts are golden. If you are a migrant, it is like s…

25 Mar 2009 3.16am

this is real BS from the govt.. I know several foreign workers who have sacrificed pretty much EVERYTHING they own and more to make their way here, only to find themselves shortchanged. Alot of them in the process of coming here, get conned, by unscrupulous parties both in the origin and destination countries (as stated by the poster above) and have to fork out about 3 to 4 times more than the official $ figure. Now upon coming here, they have barely enough money to survive, let alone save and send it back. Far from promises, it takes too damn… Read more »

24 Mar 2009 10.25pm

The government has been dishonest with the Rakyat all this time when it says it “has no choice” over the various Toll and IPP charges. The reality is more like “it has no interest to renegotiate” because most of the concession holders are well-connected crony capitalists.. One of the most obvious effects of the current global recession is that all kinds of contracts are being opened for renegotiation. It is true under commercial law if one party unilaterally reneges on a contract, it is open to a lawsuit, but there is nothing to prevent a contract from being renegotiated. Its… Read more »

johanssm / khun Pana
johanssm / khun Pana
24 Mar 2009 4.14pm

The gov. collected levies from them.
Outsourcing companies made profits from them.
Their employers made profits from them.
Fomema made huge profits from them.

The above 4 main “profiteers” must compensate the foreign workers if they are retrenched and have to be sent home. It is only fair.

Lim GL
Lim GL
24 Mar 2009 1.48pm

The workers need to be paid according to the labor law, no more no less. Those who are above a certain income, and hence not covered by the labor law, should be paid according to the employment contract, again no more no less.

Everything should be refered to the legal binding documents and the law of the land.