Back off or sod off on foreign workers, Hamzah!

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Hamzah and MOHA should just back off and let the MOHR expeditiously conclude the MoU with Indonesia.

I have been in the foreign workers business for over 15 years now. There were good times, when our huge appetite for migrant labour from countries like Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar jive with the easy flow of workers from those countries.

But there were also bad times, such as when the Movement Control Order (MCO) was put in place, which essentially closed off the borders to such workers. As a result, many in the industry were languishing.

All these years, the key agency in dealing with foreign workers was the Ministry of Human Resources (MOHR), although the Immigration Department, which fell under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA), played a role too.

But quite recently, MOHA has started to encroach in jurisdictions previously overseen by the MOHR, causing massive confusion to the industry. It is time for MOHA to hand over foreign worker approval and management back to the MOHR.

What is very disconcerting is MOHA Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin’s mishandling of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Indonesian on domestic maids.

His recent outburst against Indonesian Ambassador to Malaysia concerning a lack of trust in the MoU negotiations was most unbecoming and could further scuttle efforts to ink the long-awaited deal between both countries.

Even Seputeh MP Teresa Kok went on record to say that she believed Hamzah appeared to be sabotaging the MoU discussion between Human Resources Minister and Indonesia.

While MOHR and Indonesia were discussing the flow chart of One Channel System (OCS), the Immigration Department had issued a new policy for entries using MyTravelPass.

This was inconsistent with the draft MoU where it was already agreed that applications will only be through the OCS.

Hamzah should have met the Indonesian law and human rights minister and not his Indonesian counterpart who has nothing whatsoever to do with the MoU.

One just can’t help but wonder if Hamzah has a hidden, personal agenda that supersedes national interests and the thousands foreign worker recruitment agencies whose rice bowl is dependent on the signing of the MoU.

The industry has suffered tremendously due to the pandemic. We have salaries to pay and the conclusion of the MoU can help put us back on track.

Hamzah and MOHA should just back off and let the MOHR handle this so that we can expeditiously conclude the MoU with Indonesia. If Hamzah is not keen, he should just resign!

The views expressed here are strictly those of The True Net reader Chester Ng from Kuala Lumpur.