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Recruitment of foreign workers: NRC wants approval process for applications to be sped up, calls for less red tape

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin chairing the National Recovery Council meeting in Putrajaya, April 14, 2022. — Bernama pic

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PUTRAJAYA, April 14 — The National Recovery Council (MPN) recommends that the approval process for applications for the recruitment of foreign workers be expedited by reducing bureaucracy as well as simplifying and improving the approval process to meet the urgent needs of workers in the relevant industries.

MPN chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the council was informed that out of 4,561 foreign worker quota applications received, only 163 were being processed and had yet to be approved.

In a press conference after chairing the MPN meeting here today, Muhyiddin said the council was aware of the grievances of industry players and and losses suffered by them, especially in the plantation, manufacturing and services sectors due to labour constraints following the reopening of all economic activities in the country.

“As mentioned by the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, during Covid-19, no foreign workers came in to help harvest oil palm, (so) the country lost more than RM10 billion, and now the price of oil palm is quite high, if there is a further delay with no foreign workers, it will add even more losses to our country,” he said.

As a short-term measure, Muhyiddin said the MPN proposed that conditional approval be given to applications that were being processed to expedite the supply of foreign labour to the affected sectors.

In the long run, he said the MPN was of the view that structural issues surrounding manpower shortages and dependence on foreign labour needed to be addressed comprehensively.

Meanwhile, when asked about MPN’s view on the relevance of scanning the MySejahtera code upon entering each premises, Muhyiddin said it was up to the Ministry of Health (MOH) to decide on the matter.

He said according to Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, the MOH felt it was still necessary because a lot of data was still used to ensure Covid-19 was kept in check.

“That is why we leave it up to the MOH to decide until when the MySejahtera system will continue to be used,” he said, adding that MPN also recommended the use of the app as a contact tracing tool to be reviewed, so that it can be more effective in the Transition to Endemic Phase. — Bernama

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