MBAM hoping for relaxation of certain policies for construction workers

KUALA LUMPUR: The Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) is hoping for a relaxation of certain policies for construction workers, as, recently announced mass projects need a big workforce.

The MBAM said it hopes that the work permits of foreign workers can be extended for another five years, and any skills test charges, should be made affordable for the construction industry.

"It is believed that there are plans to charge RM370 per worker before employers can make a recommendation for renewal. This is a hefty amount and we hope the government will consider lowering the charge," it added.

It said projects such as the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), will require numerous skilled workers, both local and foreign, to ensure its successful completion, considering the complexity and fast-track nature.

It is also supposed to generate more than 130,000 jobs for the construction and related industries, said the MBAM in a statement here, on Monday, Dec 20.

Another issue which the government should consider is, lowering the proposed medical insurance costing RM120 per worker, even though it is supposed to be borne by the foreign worker.

Employers would be required to enclose a copy of the medical insurance policy for the workers when applying for a new work permit or renewing it.

This amount, the MBAM said, will definitely be a burden to the foreign workers and may deter them from deciding to come to Malaysia to work in ther construction industry.

The MBAM also supported fully the proposal by the Construction Labour Exchange Centre Bhd (CLAB) on creating transit centres to house foreign workers.

"This will be a positive move as properly managed and strategically located centres, can help provide accommodation and amenities for foreign construction workers, and prevent potential abuse by unscrupulous employers.

"They will also contribute towards the control of diseases and the reduction of crime," it said.

The MBAM added, more importantly, it would like the CLAB to study the impact of the labour movement on the Malaysian construction industry when the economic integration of Asean comes into effect in 2015.

"This will help the construction industry prepare in advance for the easier trade and labour movement in the region," it explained. — Bernama
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