The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sarawak (ACCCIS) president Dato Tan Jit Kee suggests that the state government take steps to legalise illegal foreign workers currently in the state to address manpower shortage in the construction sector.
“We are facing a very serious shortage of construction workers in the state. We are hoping that the state government would follow the federal government in legalising illegal workers.
“I think we have quite a lot of illegal workers in the state. If they can be properly turned into legal workers, they can work for industries here,” he said when contacted yesterday. Tan added that this could also help to control the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
“Illegal workers go everywhere and we do not know where they work or where they have been so we cannot control them. “If they are legalised, then we know where they are and they can be tested (for Covid-19),” he said.
Tan said it had been suggested to the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to set up a special centre for bringing in foreign workers. “This can act as a proper checking and control centre. It is better than those smuggling in through ‘ jalan tikus’,” he said.
He was referring to the Illegal Immigrant Recalibration Plan that was recently announced by Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin. The plan will be implemented from Nov 16 to June 30 next year for illegal immigrants who are already in the country. One of components in the plan is the Labour Recalibration Programme, which regularises illegal immigrants in the country as foreign workers who could be employed by eligible employers, subject to stringent conditions determined by the government.