DAP deputy minister questions need for two ministries to handle foreign workers

A Malaysian lawmaker is questioning the “similar functions” played by the country’s Home Ministry and Human Resources Ministry in overseeing the recruitment and management of foreign workers, adding that “Malaysia is unique”.

DAP Ipoh Barat MP M. Kula Segaran said it was essential for policymakers to note the comprehensive study on the management of foreign workers that was carried out during his tenure as the Human Resources minister (2018-2020). Kula Segaran was recently named deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Law and Institutional Reform).

“The independent committee on foreign workers produced a report explicitly stating that the Human Resources Ministry should be the sole authority responsible for handling foreign workers,” Kula Segaran said in a statement this morning.

“The findings of this thorough investigation are crystal clear: Out of 64-odd countries managing foreign workers, Malaysia stands alone in having two ministries involved in this crucial task. This dual responsibility is not only inefficient, but also counterproductive. The report emphasises the need for a streamlined approach, with the Human Resources Ministry taking the lead in managing foreign worker recruitment.”

He added that Malaysia had a well-documented solution at its disposal and strongly advocated for the immediate establishment of a task force dedicated to implementing recommendations outlined in the report.

“This task force should comprise experts, stakeholders, and representatives from relevant sectors to ensure a swift and effective execution of the proposed measures.

“The long-awaited foreign worker management report was recently declassified and released, which makes ignoring it, perplexing. The committee, headed by former Court of Appeal judge (Datuk Seri) Hishamudin Yunus, was set up by the Pakatan Harapan government in August 2018. Its preliminary findings were presented to the then home minister (Tan Sri) Muhyiddin Yassin and myself, as Human Resources minister in January 2019, before the full report was presented to the Cabinet on May 22, 2019.

“The current situation, where two ministries share responsibility for managing foreign workers, is not in the best interest of our nation. Functions are overlapping, and thus, corruption seeps in.”

He added the sole authority of the Human Resources Ministry in this matter aligns with international best practices and will undoubtedly result in a more efficient, transparent, and cohesive system.

“I urge the relevant authorities to take prompt action and prioritise the implementation of the recommendations outlined in the report. The establishment of a task force is crucial to ensuring that we align with global standards in managing foreign workers and, more importantly, to address the pressing needs of our nation.

“Let us not overlook the wealth of information and expertise contained in the report. It is time to act decisively for the benefit of our country and its workforce,” he added.

Twentytwo13 has reached out to the Home Ministry for comments.