KUCHING, Aug 11 — Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg said the state government will rope in the construction, manufacturing and plantation sectors in forming a committee to expedite the issuance of work permits to foreign workers.
He said the the committee, under Deputy Minister of Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring Datuk Gerawat Gala, will look into the procedures of work permit approval.
“What is happening now is that it takes quite a bit of time to issue work permits because of bureaucracy as it involves the Immigration Department, Labour Department and the Sarawak State Secretary’s Office,” he said at the Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) annual dinner and award presentation last night.
“We have established a common platform or data through the use of one app. The application for work permits can be processed through this app,” he told construction industry players.
He said it is only appropriate that the construction, manufacturing, and plantation sectors are invited to be on the committee as most of the application for work permits come from them.
“With this new approach undertaken by the state government, it is hoped that the period taken to issue the work permits will be fast,” he added.
Abang Johari also said that the state government has decided to issue work permits for a five-year period to foreign workers with special expertise to work in Sarawak.
“If the construction industry has a need for a certain kind of expertise that require expatriates, the state government will issue a five-year period work permit,” he said.
Beside this, Abang Johari said the state government’s decision to give B40 house-buyers RM10,000 as deposit will further boost the domestic housing industry.
He said B40 house-buyers can also apply for loans from the state-owned Mutiara Mortgage and Finance Berhad with a one per cent interest.
“When people are able to buy houses, then the housing industry will go up because you have a ready market and that is the way for us to intervene in a situation where you have problems,” he said, adding that the state government has already allocated RM40 million for the issuance of deposit and loans.
Abang Johari also said he has requested the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Centre of Technical Excellence Sarawak (Centexs) to provide upskilling and training for workers.
“We cannot rely fully on foreign labour. Assuming that you rely on Indonesian workers, they are also busy developing their own country and your option is to go for robotic operations,” he said.