PETALING JAYA - An effective and transparent monitoring mechanism must be in place before the Government decides to bring 1.5 million Bangladeshi blue collar workers into the country, said the Malaysian Association of Suppliers and Employees Management of Foreign Workers (Tekam).
Tekam president Dr Yusof Hashim said while the association fully agreed with the Government's proposal to boost the number of foreign labourers, it is just as important to have a credible monitoring system alongside.
"We believe it is time for the Government to set up a professional and regulated body (on foreign labour) instead of completely leaving it to employers. The mechanism should also have a track and trace system involving various stakeholders, namely the provider (agent), the employer, the relevant government agencies, and the respective embassies.
"Our concern is not only about the 1.5 million Bangladeshis, but extends to all foreign workers. We understand the need to hire these workers as the country's development and economy is very much dependent on them," he said at a press conference at Subang yesterday.
On the concerns of the people that there is already a huge population of foreign workers here, said to be more than four million including both legal and illegal ones, Yusof said all illegal foreign workers would be repatriated before the 1.5 million legitimate workers from Bangladesh were brought in.
"We are very sure that the Government has a mechanism to locate the illegals ones," he said, adding that the public should not fear that these illegals would rob them of their jobs.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has said the 1.5 million Bangladeshi were expected to be brought in over the next three years were to replace the illegal workers who will be sent back.
He added that these workers were destined for the plantation sector, which is facing a manpower shortage because many Indonesian workers were choosing to return home to work.
Other than plantations, foreign workers are also needed in the construction, manufacturing and service sectors, which are areas that Malaysians tend to shun.