Many bosses sceptical about Malaysia's new rehiring scheme for illegal foreign workers

Many bosses sceptical about Malaysia's new rehiring scheme for illegal foreign workers

PETALING JAYA: Mistrust over previous amnesty schemes may throw a spanner in the works in the latest rehiring programme for illegal foreign workers.

Many of the employers are sceptical about the online exercise which kicks off today.

Lee, a contractor who declined to reveal his full name, said he had seen too many workers "getting ripped off" by agents under the previous 6P exercise which started in 2011 and ended last year.

A total of 521,734 illegal immigrants had registered under the 6P programme. They were given work permits of between two and three years, depending on the sectors.

The 6P exercise was aimed at reducing the population of illegal immigrants.

"It is great that the Government allows them to get their permits to work here legally but I don't know how successful this new programme will be," said Lee.

"The workers themselves will have to apply for the permits and I don't know how they will go online to do it," he said.

Raj, who earns a living by building and renovating houses, also doubted the effectiveness of the latest rehiring effort.

"The state of the economy is so bad that there are not enough jobs to go around for these workers.

"I get between two and three calls everyday from foreign workers looking for jobs but there is hardly any work," he claimed.

Malayan Agricultural Producers Association (Mapa) executive director Mohamad Audong said their members were not likely to use illegal foreign workers unlike the estimated 280,000 smallholders. He doubted that these smallholders would be rushing to legalise their illegal workers under the latest exercise.

"Employers in general may not support the idea of having to register their illegal workers because there could be repercussions in the future," he said.

However, Master Builders Association Malaysia president Matthew Tee said they welcomed the online rehiring programme.

He pointed that about 100,000 illegal workers involved in the construction industry got registered under the previous 6P programme.

"Although there is some concern from employers about having to admit hiring illegal workers, many will take the opportunity to legalise them," he said.

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