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Foreign workers get RM4 billion windfall

KUALA LUMPUR, 20 May 2009: The 2.2 million foreign workers in the country would enjoy a RM4 billion windfall this year because they need not pay the levy as it would be borne by their employers.

From April, it was compulsory for employers to pay the RM1800 levy per worker per year for both new workers and those who renewed their visas, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director, Shamsuddin Bardan said today.

“Although it was excellent news for the workers, it was great strain for the companies because they had to fork out a huge sum for the levy which would invariably add to the cost of their business,” he told Bernama.

“We would therefore seek the government’s consideration to revert to the old system, where the levy was paid by the workers and it was deducted monthly from their wages,” he said.

“If this was not possible, then we would appeal to the government to defer this decision, until the economy improved,” he added.

According to Shamsuddin the economy had shown signs of improvement, but it was too early to be optimistic.

“This is particularly worrying with the global pandemic of the Influenza A(H1N1) and the meningitis and leptospirosis outbreak locally which could affect the economy and wipe out whatever little gain,” he said.

He explained that the Influenza A would affect the airline industry, tourism, hotels and allied services and also retail trade.

However, Shamsuddin welcomed the government’s move to differ the doubling of levy for the foreign workers from RM1800 to RM3600.

“If this was implemented as proposed, then the companies would have to come up with RM8 billion thus pushing many small companies out of business,” he said. — Bernama

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