Disagreement on minimum wage among issues raised
Published on: Saturday, October 20, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Many employers took the opportunity of the Town Hall Session on Foreign Workers Management held at Wisma Wanita here to express disagreement on the rate and implementation of the standardised minimum wage policy between Peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak. The standardised minimum wage at RM1,050 for local and foreign workers was scheduled to be in force in January and among the reasons against it is that the infrastructure in Sabah is not as good as in the peninsula.

It was among more than 30 issues raised by 334 people who attended the half-day session. They comprised an Assemblyman, 17 representatives from workers unions, 10 from non-governmental organisations (NGOs), 25 from government departments and agencies, 50 officials from the Human Resource Ministry Sabah, 10 from local authorities (PBTs), 14 from higher learning institutions, 25 from private recruitment agencies and 182 employers.

The other issues were One-Stop Centre functions, overlapping duties between agencies, issues relating to IMM13 and Kad Burung-Burung holders, quota for foreign female workers to Sabah who previously were allowed but now prohibited and said to have caused low productivity among male foreign workers because their families are not with them in the State.

Others were on working hours, employers holding the passports of foreign workers which is against international practice, coordination between the police and Immigration, and on enforcement.

A representative from Labuan raised the need for improvement on the One-Stop Centre system and also the Job Clearance System (JCS) besides the salary rate.

"There were so many issues raised and we will submit to the Independent Committee on Foreign Workers to consider including it in its report," said Institute of Labour Market Information and Analysis (ILMIA) Deputy Director Mohd Azmi Muhammud (pic).

ILMIA is the Secretariat for the Independent Committee on Foreign Workers which was appointed by the Prime Minister on Sept 21, which organised the Town Hall Session for the said committee at 13 locations throughout the country.

Mohd Azmi said until Oct 16, a total of 1,119 people have participated in the Town Hall sessions at various locations in peninsula and Kuching and received seven memoranda from various parties of interests in foreign worker issues.

During the said period, they also gathered 146 feedback from the earlier sessions and 18 via emails at

"The memoranda that we received earlier were from various NGOs, civil societies, academicians, employer associations' representatives and workers unions' representatives.

We are still gathering more inputs, information and feedback from all parties of interests in the foreign worker issues," he said.

He also hoped all those who have or think they have interests on the foreign worker issues to come forward and give us the input, information, feedback, because what is important is that we want to solve the problem.

"(But) Don't just bring up issues, there must also be with suggestions or recommendations on how to solve the problems," said Mohd Azmi.

He said since the management of foreign workers involves a lot of relevant ministries and agencies, hopefully the reports from the Independent Committee concerned, which will be submitted to the Government later, will help improve the management of foreign workers in the country.

"For those who have intention to submit views or proposals for improvement of the foreign workers management system, they can send to the said email," he said.

Assistant Trade and Industry Minister Ben Chong Chen Bin, Peninsula Manpower Department Deputy Director-General Haji Asri Abd Rahman and Sabah Manpower Department Director Kamal Pardi, among others, were also present.


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