PAC wants MACC to probe middlepersons lobbying minister for migrant worker permits

26-Nov-2020 Intellasia | Malaysiakini | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Public Accounts Committee wants the MACC to probe middlepersons who allegedly lobbied the home minister for special approval of migrant worker permits.

The PAC in a report said that combined with approvals made by a special committee, there had been 512,315 special approvals from 2016 to 2018.

This, it compared with the 416,510 approvals made under the Immigration Department’s Job Clearing System (JCS) quota.

The report is a follow-up to a federal audit for the year 2018 and did not name names.

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi was home minister from 2016 until May 2018 and was then succeeded by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin.

According to a testimony from Yati Mohd Lasa, a federal deputy audit director assigned to the Home Ministry, a cabinet committee in 2005 decided that any employer whose migrant worker permits were rejected could appeal to the home minister.

Yati said that based on an audit, not all requests were made directly by companies.

“The companies don’t go directly to the minister, but through an intermediary. Several companies use this intermediary to send (their appeal),” she said.

She added that some of the letters sent by middlepersons requested for special approval from the minister without going through the JCS first.

The minister would then jot down minutes on the letters, such as “Please Handle This” or “Approved”.

However, Yati noted that to keep things in order, the Home Ministry’s Migrant Worker Management Division did take the initiative to scrutinise the companies that applied for special approvals, to see whether they were qualified.

The PAC in its report said middlepersons should not play any role in getting migrant worker permits approved, and urged the MACC to investigate the matter.

The report said special approvals were unhealthy and should be used sparingly for appeals with merit and for special national projects approved by the cabinet.

There should also not be any exceptions made for the hiring of migrant workers in frozen sectors.

In the 2016-2018 period, 22,901 migrant worker permits had been approved for frozen sectors, which the PAC said affected local workers.

The PAC also said the 6,784 companies that received special approvals did not advertise their openings on the government’s Jobs Malaysia portal, which in turn “directly closed job opportunities to local workers”.

Meanwhile, in the PAC report, the Immigration Department reiterated that the Malaysian Immigration System (MyIMMs) had been hacked with login details stolen.

This allowed for the fraudulent reinstatement of expired worker quotas, which was then abused to take in migrant workers.

The fraudulent quotas were previously highlighted in the 2018 audit report as well.

The PAC said 20 police reports were lodged over the hacking since 2017, but the authorities have yet to produce any findings.

The government has said it plans to replace the MyIMMs system, which has other weaknesses, including not being able to confirm the arrivals and departures of foreigners into and from the country.

This PAC probe was initiated and conducted while Umno’s Parit Sulong MP was still the committee’s chairperson.


Category: Malaysia

Print This Post

Comments are closed.