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Leniency already exercised in Mr Liu's case

  • Lianhe Zaobao ( 01 October 2011) :¬†Leniency already exercised in Mr Liu's case
  • Lianhe Zaobao ( 27 September 2011) : A fine that is hard to accept

      Leniency already exercised in Mr Liu's case
      - Lianhe Zaobao, 01 October 2011

      In his letter (ZB Forum, 27 Sept), Mr Liu Min requested for a waiver of the composition fine imposed by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) for infringements under the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act.

      2. Mr Liu had made a similar appeal through his Member of Parliament recently, and was notified on 26 September that his appeal was unsuccessful, after careful consideration by MOM. The ministry had already exercised leniency in his case, by imposing a composition fine in lieu of prosecution in Court.

      3. Employers are reminded that the foreign employees must obtain the appropriate Work Pass before they are allowed to start working. Those caught hiring foreigners without a valid Work Pass face a fine of up to $15,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months. This will be over and above the restitution of any levy evaded.

      4. In the first six months of 2011, 27 employers have been convicted for illegal employment/deployment offences. Twenty-five were fined between $1,000 and $22,500 while two were fined $5,000 and jailed one month. 

      A fine that is hard to accept
      - Lianhe Zaobao, 27 September 2011

      I am a restaurant manager. Before the restaurant commenced operations on 10 June this year, a lot of preparation work had to be done, including hiring employees. I spent close to a thousand dollar to put out recruitment advertisements in the newspapers but received very few job enquiries. Finally, two Malaysians came for interview in end May. As there was still some time before the restaurant commenced operations, I arranged for prospective workers to come for interview, try out for the job and undergo training (including making them clean up the premises and kitchen) etc. They were told that they would not be paid before Work Permits are applied as they were only required to come to the restaurant for two to three hours a day and this is not one a daily basis.

      When the restaurant finally commenced operations on June 10, the two Malaysian workers successfully got their Work Permits approved on the same day.

      But in late August, I received a letter from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) notifying that I had infringed labour laws and will be fined $4,000. Anxious, I went to MOM the very next day to meet the officer in charge and was told the infringement was not applying for Work Permits for the two Malaysian employees prior to 10 June. This meant I should not be interviewing, allowing them to try out the job or training the two Malaysian workers.

      I would like to ask would one apply for Work Permits on the day of the interview of the Malaysian workers? The interviews, trying out the job and training are inevitable before applying for a Work Permit. I believe other companies are doing the same. Or else how would we know whether the worker had the experience or is familiar with the work, as we cannot take what the workers said for granted.

      The government encourages the people to be entrepreneurs. But hiring workers is a difficult task. We spent nearly one thousand dollar on job advertisements but how many responded?

      I may have infringed MOM's regulations but this is because of my ignorance. How many layman like us would truly be clear of the details of these regulations? I hope MOM would show leniency and waive the $4,000 fine. I would be more careful not to flout the law in future.