Category Archives: Malaysia

Malaysia palm plantations urge government to let foreign workers return

Malaysian palm plantations have urged the government to let foreign workers return, warning of severe damage to the palm-oil industry if it is not granted an exemption from a hiring freeze.

The Malaysian Estate Owners’ Association implored the government in a statement on Friday (Jun 26) to consider the survival and sustainability of the sector and let grower companies that have been unable to recruit locally hire foreign workers immediately.

The palm oil industry in Malaysia, the world’s second-largest producer and exporter of palm oil, faces a worsening of its chronic labour shortage. It relies on foreigners for 70 per cent of its plantation workforce and almost all its field work, especially people from Indonesia and Bangladesh.

Thousands have left the plantations for home as borders closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding pressure in an industry where 2 per cent to 3 per cent of foreign workers leave each year.

“A major concern is that the peak crop production season is around the corner in a few months from now and the palm oil industry is crucially dependent on the availability of workers,” said the association, which represents owners of small and midsize plantations.

It said decreased crop production would curb the output of crude palm oil and palm kernels as extraction rates will continue falling beyond this year. While this may push crude palm oil prices up, the association warned unattended plantations could eventually lead to a decline of the industry.

Source: Channel News Asia
Published on 27 June 2020
Link: https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/malaysia-palm-plantations-urge-government-to-let-foreign-workers-12876414

Migrant workers set to return from Malaysia

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation confirmed on Thursday that 158 Cambodian students and migrant workers will fly home from Malaysia on Friday morning. This is the second flight to bring Cambodians home from Malaysia.

A ministry notice said Malaysia Airlines Flight MH754 will transport 158 Cambodians and two Malaysians from Kuala Lumpur on Friday at 9am local time. They will arrive in Phnom Penh at 9:50am.

Ministry spokesperson Koy Koung could not be reached for comment on Thursday.

On April 4, Cambodia stopped 143 Cambodian passengers stranded in Malaysia from returning home to prevent the spread of Covid-19. On June 16, the government permitted them to come home.

Of the 204 passengers who boarded the flight from Malaysia on June 16, 115 were Cambodians who had their original flight cancelled on April 7.

The next day, the Ministry of Health announced that one of the 204 tested positive for Covid-19.

In March, Cambodia reported 34 Covid-19 cases after a group of people returned from a Muslim religious gathering in Malaysia. They were later found to have passed the disease on to nine more people.

Since June 23, Cambodia has not detected a new case, keeping the country’s count at 130. Of the total, 128 have recovered while two are still hospitalised.

On May 20, the ministry tightened measures against passengers returning from abroad. All passengers have to be scanned for Covid-19 and if anyone tests positive, everyone on the plane must be quarantined at a government-managed facility.

If a passenger tests negative for the disease, he can quarantine at home, although foreigners must be quarantined at hotels.

Separately, at a meeting on Tuesday between the Oddar Meanchey provincial administration and the Surin provincial administration of Thailand, both sides agreed to contain the pandemic, stop illegal border crossings, search for those involved in cross-border smuggling and allow imports and exports.

Written by Khorn Savi
Source: Phnom Penh Post
Published on 25 June 2020
Link: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/migrant-workers-set-return-malaysia

Myanmar to evacuate its citizens if Malaysia allows

Myanmar is planning to evacuate its citizens in Malaysia using relief flights if Malaysian government allows, said Aung Myint, Director General of Strategic Studies and Training Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during a meeting with Datuk Zahairi Bin Baharim, Malaysian Ambassador for Myanmar on June 22 at the office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Yangon.

They discussed about Myanmar migrant workers illegally working in Malaysia, who are facing difficulties.

The Director General said Myanmar government has responsibilities to help its citizens in Malaysia whether they are working in Malaysia illegally or not.

Moreover the Myanmar government can issue identity cards to its citizens after their documents are checked and he requested Malaysian government to free from fine to Myanmar workers, who are facing difficulties during COVID-19 pandemic time.

The Malaysian ambassador said he will report it to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other respective ministries and makes a reply.

Written by Lwin Myo Thu
Source: Eleven Myanmar
Published on 24 June 2020
Link: https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/myanmar-to-evacuate-its-citizens-if-malaysia-allows

M’sia freezes recruitment of foreign workers, kills dreams

Malaysia is not going to recruit any foreign workers until the end of the year as it has decided to prioritise jobs for locals amid the economic slowdown caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The decision, announced on Monday, has dealt a blow to Bangladeshis’ hopes of landing jobs in Malaysia soon.

Malaysia, which is home to some 800,000 Bangladeshi migrants, suspended recruitment from Bangladesh in September 2018 following allegations of a syndicate that used to charge Bangladeshi workers up to 400,000 taka ($4,700) each for jobs in Malaysia.

The two governments have been working on measures to check anomalies and prevent any syndicate of recruiting agents in the recruitment system.

However, Malaysia’s Minister of Human Resources M Saravanan told a news conference on Monday: “We will not allow [new] foreign workers until year-end. They [foreigners] can come as tourists, if they are allowed.”

After launching the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) initiative under the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) in Putrajaya, he said there are now about two million foreign workers in the country, reported Malaysian state news agency Bernama.

Saravanan said: “We try to reduce foreign workers in the workforce besides giving priority to locals to secure jobs.”

He said the ministry would evaluate the move by year-end to see if it was effective in helping the locals.

He advised job seekers not to be too selective about jobs, so that the country can reduce its dependence on foreign workers.

He said: “Don’t think about waiting for a suitable job because the right job might not exist in the immediate future.”

Meanwhile, Fortify Rights and Rohingya Women Development Network (RWDN) on Tuesday called for the Malaysian government to end arbitrary arrests and detention of refugees and migrants in the country.

The Malaysian authorities rounded up and detained thousands of refugees and migrants during a series of immigration raids starting on May 1 despite the heightened risk of Covid-19 transmission in detention facilities.

They continue to arrest and detain refugees and migrants, said a joint statement from RWDN and Fortify Rights.

On June 14, the Malaysian health ministry reported that a 67-year-old man from India died of Covid-19 on June 12 at the Bukit Jalil Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) outside Kuala Lumpur.

The ministry reports at least 735 cases of Covid-19 in IDCs across Malaysia.

During period of recovery from the pandemic, the Malaysian government should ensure refugees and migrants are provided with tailored protections to address their specific needs, including access to food and ability to pay for accommodation, the rights bodies said.

Fortify Rights executive director Amy Smith said: “Malaysia should ensure all refugees have legal status and access to basic support mechanisms.

“This is about public health as well as human rights.”

Source: Phnom Penh Post
Published on 24 June 2020
Link: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/international/msia-freezes-recruitment-foreign-workers-kills-dreams

Cambodian from Malaysia gets Covid-19

One of the 204 Cambodian passengers who returned from Malaysia on Tuesday tested positive for Covid-19, the Ministry of Health said.

The 21-year-old from Koh Kong province is being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital.

Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said the other 203 passengers who tested negative are being quarantined at Hun Sen Champuvorn High School in Phnom Penh and at quarantine centres in their respective home provinces. They are not allowed to self-quarantine at home.

“We are sending them to their respective quarantine centres according to their addresses,” she said.

The Cambodian embassy in Malaysia confirmed that 115 of the 204 passengers on board the flight had been stranded there since April 7.

The latest case brings the national total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 129, most of which are imported. The health ministry said of the 129 patients, 126 had recovered. Two of the three who remain hospitalised recently had returned from Indonesia.

While no deaths from Covid-19 has been reported domestically, a Cambodian UN peacekeeper in Mali lost his life to the disease.

The Ministry of National Defence said 10 Cambodian peacekeepers in Mali and six military trainees in Russia have also contracted the virus, all of whom have recovered.

The government has tried to stop person-to-person transmissions in the country with a focus on tightening measures against passengers arriving from abroad, the ministry said.

All passengers are required to be sent to waiting facilities upon their arrival. They must have their samples taken for testing before self-quarantine at home or at quarantine centres managed by the ministry.

Cambodia has cancelled the requirements that Cambodian citizens who hold foreign passports and Visa K have $50,000 in health insurance and pay a $3,000 deposit for testing, treatment and quarantine.

But they need to have certificates confirming they are free of Covid-19 dated no later than 72 hours before departure.

Foreigners, Vandine said, are required to pay other fees for virus-related services.

Written by Khorn Savi
Source: Phnom Penh Post
Published on 18 June 2020
Link: https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/cambodian-malaysia-gets-covid-19

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