Bandar Seri Begawan - The Minister of Home Affairs, Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Seta Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin bin Pengarah Dato Paduka Haji Awang Othman yesterday gave some hope for those who wish to employ foreign domestic workers, especially low-income earners, as the current two-year contract for foreign workers could be increased to three years.
The Minister was responding to a statement made by Legislative Council (LegCo) member YB Awg Hj Gapor @ Hj Mohd Daud bin Karim, who said that charges and fees to bring in foreign workers could reach up to $3,000, and that the current two-year contract was "not worth the money" to bring in domestic workers through licensed agents.
On this note, the usual two-year contract, which is currently enforced, would be extended and it is still work in progress, the Minister said.
Responding to concern raised by LegCo member YB Datin Paduka Dayang Hajah Zasia binti Sirin on the high cost of bringing in foreign workers, YB Pehin Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Haji Awang Badaruddin noted that the Ministry of Home Affairs is aware of the high costs and that the Labour Department had taken steps to impose ceiling charges for this.
The Minister noted that charges imposed by foreign agencies were high because they have to ensure that their process of recruitment complies with the respective rules and regulations of the workers' country of origin.
YB Datin Paduka Dyg Hjh Zasia, meanwhile queried about inconsistencies when it comes to domestic workers' wages. She claimed that there had been Instances where local agents would increase the wage payable to domestic workers without the knowledge of the Labour Department, say for example, increasing it to $250 instead of maintaining it at $200.
In response, the Minister said: "If this is found to be true, this would present a (valid) case, and those affected should lodge a complaint (to the Labour Department) giving full details," said the Minister.
Meanwhile, YB Awang Haji Ramli bin Haji Lahit, the Penghulu of Mukim Telisai, conveyed a number of complaints brought up by members of the public regarding problems that have arisen since the introduction of the Employment Agency Act, which came into effect January 2012.
"So far, one year into the enforcement of the Act (Employment Agency Act), the Labour Department has only received complaints from those who deal with unlicensed agencies," said the Minister.
The Minister reiterated the importance of strictly dealing with authorised licensed agencies as they are responsible in ensuring that both employer and employee have no issues with one another, thus, curbing cases of fraud or cheating.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin