Malaysia’s borders still closed to foreign workers, says home minister

John Bunyan
·2-min read
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin today said no policy decision has been made yet to allow foreign workers back into the country. ― Picture by Hari Anggara
Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin today said no policy decision has been made yet to allow foreign workers back into the country. ― Picture by Hari Anggara

IPOH, April 9 — Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin today said no policy decision has been made yet to allow foreign workers back into the country despite an increasingly pressing need for them.

As an example, Hamzah said about 40,000 foreign workers are required for the farming sector alone.

“Many companies have requested foreign workers, but at the moment, we don’t have a policy on opening the border to foreign workers,” he told a press conference after attending the Malaysia Prihatin programme at Tambun here.

Hamzah said the government would need to consider many things before allowing this to happen.

“First, we have to refer to the Health Ministry’s scientific data and follow the standard operating procedures (SOP).

“For example, if we want to allow someone into our country, we would have to conduct (Covid-19) tests on them, quarantine and vaccinate them. But who is going to pay for it?

“We must also make sure the employers have accommodation for all the workers after they have completed the aforementioned process,” he said.

Hamzah said if the employers and foreign workers can follow and adhere to all the SOP, then there is nothing to prevent them from being allowed into the country.

On the issue of employers supposedly tipping off the Immigration Department to their own undocumented foreign workers in order to avoid paying wages, Hamzah said the authorities plan to investigate the allegations.

“This is very subjective. Firstly, the people accused are the employers. Whatever strategy we take on this matter is to make sure the employers follow the law and pay the levy.

“If there is an issue of foreign workers not being paid their salary by their employers, then we will seek justice for them,” he said.

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