Home Civil Society Voices Issuance of ‘special approvals’ for foreign workers: Was there corruption?

Issuance of ‘special approvals’ for foreign workers: Was there corruption?

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Patriot urges a thorough investigation into this matter.

A recent Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report reveals what appears to be serious abuse of power in the issuance of “special approvals” for the admission of foreign workers into the country.

PAC chairman and Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai had asked former Home Minister Zahid Hamidi why 512,315 out of a total of 928,825 special approvals were issued for foreign workers between 2016 and 2018.

The authorisation of this special approvals to middlemen, who among others were politicians from the ruling BN government at the time, raises the question of corruption.

Politicians reported as middlemen were Pandikar Amin Mulia (former Speaker of Parliament), Noh Omar (Tanjung Karang MP), Masir Kujat (Sri Aman MP), Mohd Alwi Che Ahmad (Kok Lanas MP) and Muhammad Yusof Mohd Nor (the state assembly member for Sungai Dua).

This is very serious and unacceptable. What makes it even more serious is that a number of these special approvals were given via middlemen despite the foreign workers having failed the Foreign Workers Medical Examination Monitoring Agency (Fomema) inspection. Such wanton disregard for health is a serious dereliction of responsibilities among those politicians whom we put our trust for good governance.

The PAC chairman’s asking Zahid Hamidi for the rationale for issuing special approvals is relevant. In addition, Patriot would like to ask Zahid the following questions:

  • Why was such a high percentage, over half a million and 55% of the total special approvals, issued?
  • Why were the foreign workers not admitted into the country through normal channels?
  • What was the reason for appointing politicians as middlemen in this ‘trade’? By doing that, wasn’t it an act of cronyism?
  • Would it be wrong for the public to assume that all the middlemen (politicians included) had received some financial gain?
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The PAC report has invoked public perception of abuse and high probability of corruption in the issuance of ‘special approvals’ by the Ministry of Home Affairs between 2016 and 2018.

Patriot urges a thorough investigation into this matter. Good governance requires the various investigating agencies to spring into action and not wait for directions from higher up.

There have been too many cases of corruption reported over the last few months. We therefore urge the government to take a serious view to stem the rot that has permeated almost all government agencies.

A few years ago, based on the findings of Transparency International, it was reported that Malaysia was a champion in corruption. Action must be taken to wipe out this national shame.

Retired Brigadier General Dato Mohamed Arshad Raji is president of the National Patriots Association (Patriot)

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