Sabah Temporary Pass: Focus is on 136,000 foreigners

KOTA KINABALU: There are 136,055 foreigners holding IMM13, Surat Burung-Burung and Census Certificates in Sabah who will be issued with the Government’s Temporary Sabah Pass or Pas Sementara Sabah (PSS) scheduled for June, next year under Phase One.Home Deputy Minister Datuk Mohd Azis Jamman (pic) said they are the early or original holders of the three documents that the government would cater for first before their children and dependants that may sum up to about 600,000 as a presumption. It could be more or less. He said the government would concentrate on this figure so that a proper census can be carried when they come to register for the PSS and their documents would be combined into a single pass which would be easier to identify them.

“I am aware that the Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin did target 600,000 foreigners in Sabah holding the three documents to be issued with PSS during the launching of this planned exercise of PSS.“Again I am explaining that the 600,000 is just a presumption that includes their children because there are parents who are both IMM13 holders and their children have no documents when the Immigration Department stopped issuing the 1MM13 document.“The number of their children has caused the number of foreigners to get the PSS to reach 600,000 as an estimation that could be more or less,” he said, after chairing a Technical Committee on Management of Foreigners in Sabah here on Monday.Azis said they are concerned first to streamline and coordinate holders of the three documents and do census because the government has no data on them.On why these IMM13 holders who are refugees could not be sent back to the Southern Philippines when the war had long ended, Azis said the main problem is because the Philippine Government refused to accept them.

“Bear in mind that the IMM13 holders have three to four generations in Sabah and I did pose the same question to former director-general of Immigration Department Datuk Mustafar Ali who briefed me that the IMM13 holders were sent to the Philippine embassy in Kuala Lumpur with the transportation cost borne by the government.“When interviewed by the Philippine officials, the holders were asked where they were born and where their homes are in the Philippine. They replied that they were born in Sabah and they do not know where their home towns were in the Philippines.“When asked whether they want to be sent back, the holders said they did not want. Thus, finally the embassy decided to reject them,” he said.“If the Philippines did accept them, then it would not be a problem to us, now. Well, if this matter can be easily done by the previous government with more than two decades ruling, I am sure they would have done it long ago before us (new government) which is less than two years governing the country. “The previous government was not capable of addressing the matter because they already know the reasons why it was difficult to tackle it. Yet some leaders who were from the previous government seem to purposely ask us why the holders could not be sent back when they know the reasons,” he said.Azis likened them to the Rohingya refugees in Kuala Lumpur which Myanmar did not recognise as their citizens when Malaysia wanted to send them back.That is why the Rohingyas are still in Kuala Lumpur as they do not have place or country to go back to and to compare them to the Philippine refugees (IMM13 holders), who claim to have been born in Sabah and thus do not want to be sent back.

Source: Daily Express

Registration of illegal workers

KOTA KINABALU: The Immigration Department will be carrying out a Regularisation Programme for illegal foreign workers in the plantation and agriculture sector effective April 1 to Sept 20, 2019. Its State Director Datuk Musa Sulaiman (pic) said the programme is aimed at helping to uplift the sector that is currently faced with lack of manpower besides solving security issues involving illegal immigrants in the industry. It is also aimed at giving employers the opportunity to obtain legal passes for their workers as well as aiding the enforcement agency in planning effective operations in the future. He said the Immigration Department would as the secretariat.

Musa said employers in the sector as well as sub-sectors employing Indonesian and Filipino workers of legal age are to be registered along with their dependants (wife and children).He also said those categorised as illegal immigrants who have been in the State before Jan 1, 2019 can be registered but will have to be compounded first before the process of Temporary Visiting Work Pass is issued or Dependent Pass.He said workers that are to be registered should have legal passport from their respective countries with validity of not less than 18 months while those who do not have passport will need their employers to arrange for their legal pass through the respective embassy or consulate.

Although the programme would be from April 1 to Sept 30, the employer quota application would only be opened from April 1 to June 30 where the applications can be obtained from the Immigration Kota Kinabalu Headquarters Foreign Workers Department. Musa said once the application is approved, employers are to present the workers’ passport for further action at any district Immigration Department office in Sabah.Those with inquires pertaining the programme may contact any nearest immigration office in the State.

Source: Daily Express

PM: Malaysia to strengthen bilateral trade with Philippines further

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad attend the welcoming ceremony for the Malaysian leader at the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila March 7, 2019. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 7 — Bilateral between Malaysia and the Philippines will be further strengthened, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

Speaking at a joint press conference with his Philippines counterpart, President Rodrigo Duterte, Dr Mahathir urged both Malaysian and Philippines private enterprises to explore new cooperation and investment opportunities.

“The trade between two countries is increasing but they are largely in the favour of Malaysia.

I believe there is still room for improvement and after my meeting with the president, I would encourage private sectors from both countries to explore new opportunities of collaboration and venture into new cooperation and investment opportunities,” he said.

Dr Mahathir added that one of the main areas that needed to be enhanced was connectivity as a means to boost economic development between Malaysia and the Philippines.

Dr Mahathir also said both countries would benefit by seeing an increase of cooperation in the health, tourism and education sectors.

“I look forward to the final decision and the signing of the MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the government of Malaysia and the Philippines on cooperation in the field of health.

“I highlighted that Malaysia has been a favourite healthcare destination for the Philippines.

“The number of patients from the Philippines seeking treatment in Malaysia has been increasing over the years,” he said.

Duterte also agreed that both countries whom he described as the growth engine of Asia, needed to improve their bilateral trade.

Duterte cited that both countries will look into opportunities to improve trade and investment in infrastructure development.

Source: Malaymail

Multi-tier foreign worker levy system to begin January next year, says Home Minister

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran giving a press conference after chairing the Joint Committee Meeting on the Management of Foreign Workers, in Putrajaya, Feb 28, 2019. — Bernama pic

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 28 — The joint committee between the Home Ministry and Human Resource Ministry today announced that the multi-tier levy system for foreign workers will begin on Jan 1, 2020.

Home Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the implementation would take into account aspects of data integration as well the readiness of the government and employers under the formal sector, particularly agriculture and manufacturing.

In the manufacturing sector, Muhyiddin however said that the foreign workers dependency ratio for the multi-tier levy mechanism was only allowed up to 75 per cent.

“In this case, a committee will be set up to assess the needs of the employers or companies in the manufacturing sector which hiring foreign workers beyond the allowed ratio on case-by-case basis.

“This is to ensure that the company’s operations are not affected,” he said after chairing the meeting with Human Resource Minister M. Kulasegaran here.

Muhyiddin said employers would be informed on the levy system before it being implemented.

“Each level has a different levy. All proposals for the amount of levy have been included in the Foreign Workers’ Management Independent Committee’s report. We cannot disclose it now because the report must get approval from the Cabinet,” he said.

Muhyiddin said the committee also agreed that cooks, kitchen assistants and waiters were allowed to be employed in the restaurant sub-sector.

From Jan 1 to Feb 20, the Immigration Department has conducted 2,182 enforcement operations and arrested 148 employers and 7,747 illegal immigrants, he said.

“About 244 employers have been prosecuted between Jan 1, this year and Dec 31, 2018. In addition, 316 employers were imposed compound fines.

“The Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) has also issued 4,677 notices to 4,677 employers who failed to comply with the Employment Act 1955,” he said. — Bernama

Source: Malaymail

A lower extension levy fee

PETALING JAYA: The government will lower the extension levy fees for foreign workers who have worked in the country for more than 10 years starting in March.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the Cabinet made the decision during a meeting on Feb 20 to reduce the burden of employers.

The lowering of levies will apply to five sectors – manufacturing, services, construction, agriculture and plantation – from March 1, 2019 to Feb 29, 2020.

For the manufacturing, services, and construction sectors, the levy will be lowered from RM10,000 to RM6,000 while that for the agriculture and plantation sectors will be reduced from RM3,500 to RM2,000.

“The government is concerned about the challenges faced by businesses and industries in a global situation that is facing uncertainties,” said Lim in a statement yesterday.

There is no change in the levy fees for domestic workers.

Last September, Lim said employers would have to pay the entire RM10,000 levy instead of having the skilled worker pay the bulk of it as originally planned.

One day prior to that, the government announced that foreign workers who have worked in the country for more than 10 years would have to pay 80% of the levy, amounting to RM8,000, with employers bearing the remaining 20% for a three-year extension.

The reversal, Lim said, came following complaints by employers that their foreign workers could not afford to pay 80% of the total levy.

Following this, there was an outcry from various industry players who said that both employers and workers would be burdened by the levy fee.

Previously, foreign workers were only allowed to work in the country for a maximum of 10 years, said Tenaganita programme director Aegile Fernandez.

During the announcement of Budget 2019, Lim said the government would be reducing the extension levy for foreign workers who have served for 10 years or more in both the agriculture and plantation sectors, from RM10,000 to RM3,500 per worker per annum.

Lim had said that the shortage of workers in these two industries and the decline in prices of agricultural commodities had affected output in these sectors.

Media Release by Ministry of Finance

Source: The Star

Foreign workers to be covered under Socso effective Jan 1

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama): The Cabinet has decided to place social security protection of foreign workers under Social Security Organisation (Socso) with effect from Jan 1, 2019.

This is in line with the Equality of Treatment (Accident Compensation) Convention, 1925 (No.19) and Conference Committee on the Application of Standard under the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which Malaysia has ratified, said Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran (pic) in a statement on Wednesday (Nov 21).

He said employers who hire foreign workers with valid documents including expatriates must register their employees with Socso and contribute to the Employment Injury Scheme (EIS) under the Employees' Social Security Act 1969 (Act 4).

Benefits under the EIS include Medical Benefit, Temporary Disablement Benefit, Permanent Disablement Benefit, Constant-Attendance Allowance, Dependants' Benefit and Rehabilitation, as well as RM6,500 repatriation cost including funeral.

However, foreign workers would not be covered by the Invalidity Pension Scheme under Act 4, said the minister.

The statement said employers can go to any of Socso’s 54 offices throughout the country including Sabah and Sarawak to register their foreign workers.

Kulasegaran said the Ministry, together with Socso will conduct engagements with the stakeholders soon. - Bernama

Source: The Star

Dr M: Senior citizens with red MyKad will get citizenship soon

KUALA LUMPUR: Permanent residents over 60 years old with red MyKads who applied for citizenship and fulfilled all conditions will soon have their application granted, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

He said the decision was made after meeting with representatives of the Indian community, Pakatan Harapan lawmakers as well as senators.

"It was promised under Pakatan Harapan's manifesto to address citizenship issue of the Indian community," Dr Mahathir told a press conference in parliament.

He said that the government managed to secure the citizenship of 3,407 Indians who held red MyKads with the age above 60 years old.

"If they are above 60 years old, they will be regarded as citizens.

"Those who are below 60 years old, if they have any strong basis, including a child from a parent who is a Malaysian, have a right to be regarded as a citizen.

"One parent must be a Malaysian and the child must be born in Malaysia," he said.

Dr Mahathir stressed that applicants must fulfill all the necessary criteria, including going through a basic Bahasa Malaysia test.

"It is a simple test. If they pass, we can accept them.

"They should also be here 12 years in total, as stated under the Federal Constitution," he said.

Dr Mahathir said while the 100-day pledge was limited to the Indian community, the decision to grant citizenship would be applied to all the races.

"This does not only apply for Indians, but for all," he said.

However, he did not provide a time-frame for when citizenship would be approved.

Dr Mahathir had on Monday (Aug 13) met Indian Pakanyab leaders to discuss the progress of fulfilling promises made to the community.

Among those attended include Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran, National Unity and Social Wellbeing Minister P. Waytha Moorthy and Rural and Development Deputy Minister R. Sivarasa.

Source: The Star

Embassy warns Filipinos over fake documents

Kota Kinabalu: Filipinos holding tampered travel documents like passport risk being prosecuted for immigration offence by Malaysian authorities.

If found guilty, they will be blacklisted from entering Malaysia and also face imprisonment, including deportations.

Offenders will also be included in the Philippine's watch list.

Hence, the Philippine Embassy is reminding all its countrymen to refrain from engaging the services of individuals or groups providing dubious documentation services.

The reminder was issued following the discovery of rampant incidence of fake validity extensions on Philippine passports, including forging of signatures of signing officers of the embassy.

The reported incidents prompted the Embassy to caution and advised all its countrymen here that any endorsements on Philippine passports, including extension must be processed directly by the Philippine Embassy.

Thus, all applicants are advised to have their passport's validity extended only at the consular area of the Philippine Embassy or during official consular missions.

Meanwhile, several Filipinos took advantage in the one-day 'travel document' (TD) mission held at Hotel Shangri-La, here, Wednesday.

The consular mission organised by the embassy was designed to assist Filipinos to obtain travel documents to pave way for their voluntary deportation back home without facing jail term and high compound from the Malaysia Immigration authorities.

The Malaysian amnesty '3+1' Programme or Voluntary Deportation Programme will expire on August 30 after which intensified operations to get rid of illegal migrants will be conducted by the authorities nationwide.

"I am very happy and thankful to the Philippine Embassy and Malaysian Immigration Department for allowing me to return home without much difficulties," holder of expired Philippine passport Gina Cabahug said.

She said paying RM400 (RM300 penalty plus RM100 for exit pass) is reasonable.

Gina, who worked as domestic helper and restaurant assistant in the city, for five years now confessed that she failed to renew her documents for more than one year.

"I wanted to go home earlier but was hesitant because of my expired documents.

For safety reason, I do not want to go home via the back door. I am now looking forward for a reunion with my immediate family members in Manila soon," Gina said.

"Malaysians, particularly Sabahans, are friendly people and I don't mind coming back to this place with proper documentation to work again," she added.

Meanwhile, it was noted that the crowd who turned out to avail the consular travel document mission Wednesday was much smaller than expected.

Many of the applicants (with employers) expressed their intentions to return to Sabah upon getting proper documents in the Philippines. - Nikko Fabian

Source: Daily Express

KKCCCI lauds move on special pass for plantation workers

Kota Kinabalu: The Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) welcomed Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal's announcement that the State Government will look into revamping the process of issuing special work permits for foreign plantation workers in the State.

Its President Datuk Michael Lui Yen Sang said it is commendable that the Chief Minister had taken an enlightened approach to solve local problems with appropriate solutions.

"KKCCCI agrees and supports the Chief Minister that the plan will not allow them to obtain the permanent resident status in Sabah, as this is an important basic principle in defending the basic rights of the Sabah people," he said in a statement, Wednesday.

Shafie was reported saying on Wednesday that the special pass is not a permanent document but to legalise the foreign plantation workers' work pass.

In addition to specifying that they are plantation workers, several conditions would also be set to enable them to feel comfortable working in the plantations.

Lui said the industrial players are relieved with the act of legalising the illegal workers into possession of a special work permit to legally work in the plantation.

"This not only solves the problem of shortage of legal workers but, more importantly, makes a positive contribution to our economic development and global competitiveness.

"KKCCCI believes that the State Government will be working with the Immigration Department to formulate specific conditions to expedite the implementation of issuing the special documents in the near future."

From January to May this year, some 25,569 foreign plantation workers had been registered with the State Immigration Department, with Indonesians making the bulk with 24,442 workers, followed by 1,124 Filipinos and three from Myanmar.

Last year, the department registered 76,603 foreign plantation workers comprising 72,093 Indonesians, 4,494 Filipinos and 16 from Myanmar.

Source: Daily Express