PUCHONG, Jan 17, 2015:

An announcement by a company that foreign workers’ health checks in their countries of origin and visas with referral will only be done online through the said company is worrying two Pakatan Rakyat elected representatives.

Sungai Petani Member of Parliament Datuk Johari Abdul and Semambu assemblyman Lee Chean Chung are asking Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi why the announcement was made on the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS) website instead of by the government.

According to the website, the system is a proprietary system designed as an end-to-end migrant worker management solution, and is a project operated by Bestinet Sdn Bhd on behalf of the government.

“Is this a government project being outsourced or is it purely an idea of this company instead of the Immigration Department?” asked Johari.

He pointed out that in other countries, such systems were run by the government because it was an issue of border control and related to security information as well as relationships between government agencies.

“What happens if this company goes bust?” asked Johari.

He also pointed out that such a comprehensive project would incur costs.

“A company has to make a profit to survive. So it is profit motivated. If it wants to make money, you can imagine it will collect fees from the employees or the employers.

“When costs increase, at the end of the day, consumers pay more because other costs are affected,” he said.

Johari said if efficiency was the goal, then the government should train its employees and upgrade its system instead of outsourcing the service and losing control of national security.

“What will happen to Immigration? Will it just be overseeing?” he asked.

Lee said while there was no doubt that moving such services online would make things easier, the only problem was the involvement of a third party and lack of an announcement by the government.

“We are worried about public interest,” he said, urging the Home Minister to respond.

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