Thursday December 4, 2003

New requirement for foreign workers

PUTRAJAYA: New foreign workers coming into the country are required to have a certification from the National Vocational Training Council stating that they have undergone a familiarisation course before they are issued an entry visa.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said they must have the certification that they had undergone in their home countries a two-week course that touched on topics like basic communication skills in English or Bahasa Malaysia, sensitivities of the various cultures and the Malaysian way of life.
“The workers must have this certificate before they can apply for visas with our Immigration Department to work here,” he said after the post-Cabinet meeting here yesterday.
The need for a certification would be effective from next year, he added.
Dr Fong pointed out that the new requirement was contained in the memorandum of understanding Malaysia had signed with Bangladesh, China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
“It will also be made part of the MoU we will sign later with India and Indonesia,” he said.
“Guidelines for the courses should be ready before the end of the year. But for those already here, we ask the companies here to organise such a course for their workers,” he said.
On Monday, Malaysia signed such an agreement with Vietnam to regulate procedures on sending, receiving and working periods for Vietnamese labourers in the country.
There are currently 67,000 Vietnamese workers, employed mainly in the manufacturing sector.
Dr Fong also denied a report that quoted him as saying that Vietnamese without knowledge of English and Bahasa Malaysia would be allowed to work in Malaysia.
“What I said was that this was the first MoU we signed with a country whose people do not have basic skills in either English or Bahasa Malaysia,” he said.
Dr Fong added that Malaysia still needed some one million foreign workers for its industries.