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Minister asks why employers hold foreigners’ passports

KUALA LUMPUR, 23 Oct 2008: Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam is not amused that employers hold on to the passports of their foreign workers.

Questioning the need for employers to do so, he reasoned that under the law, no one should keep another’s passport.

“Fortunately or unfortunately, most foreign workers in the country have mutually agreed to hand over their passports to their respective employers due to security reasons.

“But, it’s up to the employees whether they want to hand over their passports to their employers or not.

“(Nevertheless) the ministry will work closely with the home ministry to study the rationale behind this,” Subramaniam told reporters after launching the School of Information Technology of Nirwana Academy Group of Colleges here today.

There are currently three million foreign workers in the country, of which about 1.1 million are illegal.

Subramaniam said there were many implications for employers who held on to their foreign workers’ passports.

Employers should ensure that the passports and visas are not expired. Otherwise, the workers would bear the brunt of the blame, he said.

Advising foreign workers not to hand over their passports to their employers, Subramaniam said his ministry would draw up a plan to address the issue. — Bernama


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