Firing locals in favour of foreign workers will get employers punished, says HR Minister

Employers who were found to dismiss local workers in favour of foreigners would face hefty fines and cancellation of foreign workers’ quota approval, says V. Sivakumar.

The Human Resources Minister said that the act of dismissing local workers to employ foreigners is against Section 60M of the Labour Act 1955.

“If the companies were found to commit such an offence, they could face fines up to RM50,000 for each offence and the ministry will also cancel the foreign workers’ quota approved,” he said in a statement on Wednesday (March 1).

Sivakumar confirmed that the Human Resources Ministry has been receiving a lot of complaints from local workers saying they were terminated following the relaxations of foreign workers quota approval.

He also said that his ministry recently received complaints from local workers in Penang regarding the termination.

“Recently, the ministry received many complaints about local companies who terminated local workers after they received foreign workers’ quota approval.

“The latest complaint that I received involved the dismissal of 102 local workers in Penang,” he said.

The minister reiterated that the relaxations given to employers to request for foreign workers should not be an excuse to not hire local workers.

“I would like to warn employers and local companies that the approval of quotas and permission to employ foreign workers is to support the lack of manpower and is never an excuse to replace existing local workers.

“Employers are also advised that priority must be given to local workers if there is any job vacancy in the country,” he said.

Previously, The Star reported that a number of local workers in the manufacturing sectors feared that they would lose their jobs to foreign workers.

Workers of factories in the northern states claimed their job contracts would not be continued as foreign workers would be brought in to replace them.

A source told The Star that there were employers who would offer longer contract periods to foreign workers – up to five years – while locals are only offered six months.