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Thursday, 12 January 2017

(The Star) Liow: EMC levy move put off for a year

PUTRAJAYA: The newly-introduced compulsory levy payment by employers under the Employer Mandatory Commitment (EMC) has been deferred for a year to give them time to adjust to it, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai (pic).
“The Cabinet had a thorough discussion on the matter. (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department) Datuk Paul Low had an engagement session with stakeholders on Tuesday and presented the outcome at the Cabinet meeting.
“Taking into consideration the views of the stakeholders, we have found it wise to delay the implementation of the levy payment by employers to next year.
“This allows us time to establish an ecosystem for the EMC policy to work,” said Liow, when met at his ministry after the meeting.
He said the EMC policy was introduced by the Government to ease the recruitment of foreign workers.
On Dec 31, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi announced that effective Jan 1, employers were to be fully responsible for all foreign workers under their employment.
Under the EMC, employers must take care of their foreign workers in all aspects, from their employment to payment of salaries, and even repatriation.
The Star on Tuesday ran a package of stories on how the lack of foreign workers, financial burden of the EMC and other operating problems have impacted employers.
Employers have urged the Government to give them a grace period on the EMC or to adjust the levy amounts.
Yesterday, Liow said the EMC gave employers full control of their foreign workers, without the need to go through middlemen.
“For the EMC to work, bureaucracy needs to be cut so that employers can easily hire foreign workers. There must also be reliable sources of foreign labour.
“But this ecosystem is not there yet. We need to build this ecosystem,” said Liow.
The hiring of local workers still remained a priority, he said.
“But in the event that employers cannot hire locals, they will have easy access to recruit foreigners with the EMC in place,” he said.
On another issue, Liow hit out at companies that allowed foreign workers to drive commercial vehicles, which is illegal.
“This is a very serious issue. We will take stern action against those who allow this by slapping them with a fine and impounding the vehicle.
“The company could also get blacklisted for abusing the (commercial driver’s) licence which should not be given to foreigners.

“If the public has any information on this, report to us so the Road Transport Department can take immediate action,” he said.