Legalise our foreign workers

Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing has proposed the setting up of a body to ensure only legal foreign workers with proper documentation and vaccinations are allowed to work in the state and subsequently keep the industries running.

He said before Covid-19, illegal immigrants often entered Sarawak in search of jobs in the state’s plantations, construction sites, food and beverage outlets and manufacturing industries.

“In short, they were here to power our industries.

“Under normal circumstances, the government may turn a blind eye to these intrusions by the illegal immigrants as our industries need them.

“However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarawak can no longer turn a blind eye as we need to protect our people’s health.

“But Covid-19 must not stop our industries from opening. Closing them will not kill the virus.

“There is, I believe, only one answer to our power needs — legalise our foreign workers.

“Establish a body which ensures that only legal foreign workers, with proper documentation and vaccination, are allowed to work in our industries,” he said on Monday (Aug 30).

He called for the body to be set up as soon as possible.

Masing, who is also the Sarawak Border Security Control Committee chairman, also suggested that government set up stringent standard operating procedures (SOPs) to penalise those who breach the laws.

He added that the state must also stop using private agencies to recruit foreign workers.