Published: Thursday January 10, 2013 MYT 6:28:00 PM
MTUC: Don't give in to employers' demand on foreign workers levy
PETALING JAYA: The MTUC has called on the government not to bow to the demands of employers to revert the policy of levy payment for foreign workers.
Since 2009, employers had been paying the levy for their foreign workers, but now the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) wants to shift this burden of levy payment back to the workers.
The MEF's rationale was that the workers would be earning more, with the implementation of minimum wage policy and hence, could afford to pay the levy.
The minimum wage policy of RM900 monthly for Peninsular and RM800 for Sabah and Sarawak, came to effect on Jan 1.
MTUC president Khalid Atan begged to differ, saying that the employers should not confuse minimum wage with increased wage.
He told Bernama that if workers were asked to pay the levy, the minimum wages policy would not benefit them at all, as whatever little increase in salary they enjoyed, would be wiped out with the levy payment.
According to MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan, the employers forked out an annual RM2.5bil in levy payment.
He estimated that the minimum wages policy implemented effective this month, would cost employers another RM8.5bil per year.
He pointed out that with such huge payout, it would be appreciated if the government could ease the burden of employers and asked the workers to pay their own levy.
Khalid, however, felt that employers could afford to absorb the levy with their increased income due to the economic boom.
On the provision of free accommodation, transportation, medical, electricity and water to foreign workers, he said this was part and parcel of the terms and conditions of employing foreigners.
As a result, employers should abide by it, and should not deduct the cost of these perks from the employee's salary, he said.