KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 25 – The flip-flop on policy by the Pakatan Harapan government has once again reared its ugly head after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng did a U-Turn from an announcement he made just yesterday.
In a speech to property developers yesterday, Lim said that employers in Malaysia will only have to pay 20% of the annual RM10,000 levy for each foreign worker who has been employed for more than 10 years.
“We have received complaints and we understand that the levy is quite a heavy burden, so we have tweaked it to a 80-20 share, with 20% to be borne by employers and 80% by foreign workers,” Lim was quoted as saying by The Edge.
Policy reversal within 24 hours
Just 24 hours later, the DAP secretary-general said that his policy announcement made yesterday will not apply and that the government will retain the previous levy payment structure for migrant workers, with employers bearing the full cost.
He explained the policy reversal as necessary following complaints from migrant workers and trade unions which had complained these employees would not be able to afford their share of the levy.
Bernama reported Lim as saying that employers with migrant workers who had served for more than 10 years and now wanted to continue working here, could start paying the annual levy of RM10,000 from October 1.
“If the employers do not want to pay the RM10,000, they can first send the migrant workers home and then re-employ them as new workers. So the levy that needs to be paid is only RM1,850,” he said.
Costs and inconvenience with no solution in sight
That would naturally result in further logistical cost as there will be the cost of airfare, which employers would naturally not want to pay.
However, no solution has been forthcoming from the minister on how to minimise the inconvenience as well as lower the cost to both employers and employees.
According to Bernama, the Cabinet had on August 29 agreed to give leniency for employers to retain, for a maximum of three years, their skilled migrant workers holding the Temporary Employment Visit Pass (PKLS) for the past 10 years.
Not the first flip-flop by PH
This is the latest incidence of the government turning its back on pledges as per its manifesto or making decisions and reversing them within days.
Among other things, PH had promised to increase the oil royalty to Sabah and Sarawak.
In July, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced in the Dewan Rakyat that Putrajaya would honour its promise to provide 20% royalty to petroleum-producing states.
But he later clarified the statement, saying the 20% payment would be based on profit instead of royalty.
There was also the promise to abolish tolls, but Tony Pua, who is a Special Officer to the Finance Minister said recently that it was not a priority anymore.