Convert 6P status for foreign workers

KUALA LUMPUR: Foreign workers under the 6P programme who have to be sent home should be allowed to be re-employed as legal foreign workers, says the Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM).

MBAM president Matthew Tee said a large number and steady supply of foreign workers were needed to keep up with Malaysia’s construction industry, which had been experiencing consistent double digit growth since 2012.

“With the increase in projects, the association has to caution the Government that not all major projects can be delivered on time, especially with the current shortage of workers,” he said in a statement.

MBAM had appealed to the government to simplify the process of hiring foreign workers in order to reduce the manpower shortage. “The best will be if the skilled workers now under the 6P programme can be quickly re-employed as legal workers,” Tee said.

“The association appreciates the govern­ment’s decision to allow the 352,000 foreign workers under the 6P programme to remain in Malaysia for an extra year,” he said.

The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) concurred with MBAM in appealing to the government to convert the status of 6P foreign workers.

FMM chief executive officer Dr Yeoh Oon Tean said the status would help them reach their maximum employment period of 10 years. “Much time and investment has been spent in training these workers only for them to be sent back in three years.

As a result, employers have to submit fresh applications to get new workers in order to replace those who are sent back,” he said in a statement.

Yeoh said employers would also have to bear the repatriation costs for the 6P workers. “For these reasons, FMM supports the call made by the construction sector to allow these workers to continue working in Malaysia,” he added.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Association, which represents the bulk of oil palm plantation companies, has yet to issue a statement on this matter.