KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian employers have been warned against dismissing local employees in order to hire foreign workers.
Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Muttalib, addressing the Dewan Rakyat today, said Section 60 of the Employment Act 1955 (Act 265) states that no employer can arbitrarily terminate the employment of local workers to employ foreign workers.
Employers who fail to comply with the law can be charged with the offence and if convicted, are liable to a fine of not more than RM10,000
Ismail said employees are also entitled to their rights when they are terminated by employers.
"Employees who are suddenly laid-off are entitled to a number of basic protections. Among others, employers shall give sufficient notice period or remuneration in accordance with the work contract, but not less than stipulated under Section 12 (2) of the Employment Act.
"Employers are also obliged to pay retrenchment benefits in accordance with the work service contracts, which must not be less than the rate prescribed in the Employment (Termination and Lay-Off Benefits) Regulations 1980," he said in reply to a supplementary question from Dr Mansor Abdul Rahman (BN-Sik).
At the same time, Ismail said retrenched workers could claim financial benefits by making their claims at any Labour Office branch.
He said Malaysia is still very much in need of foreign workers although they are only allowed to work in selected sectors.
These include manufacturing, plantation, agriculture, construction, mining and quarrying, and the services sector under certain sub-sectors such as spas, foot massage, resorts, hotels, garden assistants - animal parks, restaurants, cooking, washing and cleaning and cargo, ports and airports.
Reports by: FARHANA SYED NOKMAN, VEENA BABULAL and FERNANDO FONG