Facing backlash, MyEG defends deal with Malaysian govt

Indonesian Construction Worker in KL

(DNA) – MY E.G. Services Bhd (MyEG), one of the largest publicly-listed tech companies in South-East Asia, has come out in an attempt to clear the air over its appointment as the sole provider of the online renewal of foreign workers’ work permits, and issues related to this appointment.

Over the past few weeks, certain businessmen and politicians have aired their concerns over the fact that MyEG had been given the green light by the Government to compile and maintain a database on foreign workers in Malaysia.

Those who want to renew foreign worker permits from now on will need to do it online. Prior to this, renewals could also have been done at the Immigration Department.

MyEG, listed on Bursa Malaysia with a market capitalisation of RM3.01 billion (US$843 million), is the sole provider of the online service.

The concerns of businessmen and mainly Opposition politicians cover various aspects.

For a start, the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM), in a news report, described the mandatory online renewal of foreign workers’ work permits, and the appointment of MyEG as the sole provider of the service, as a “bad precedence and against the Competition Act 2010.”

The association also argued that the service fee charged per foreign worker for renewal of a work permit was “extremely exorbitant.”

In another news report, Opposition politician Teresa Kok asked why employers should issue cheques for the renewal of working permits to MyEG, instead of to the Immigration Department.

She said that the amount MyEG would collect on behalf of the Government could come up to more than RM4.4 billion (US$1.2 billion).

More recently, Opposition politician Johari Abdul, also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sungai Petani, said that MyEG’s role in compiling and maintaining the database could constitute a threat to national security.

MyEG, for its part, has lodged numerous police reports saying its employees have been harassed and assaulted since the Government’s decision to outsource the service to the company.

‘Not about the fees’

In response to Digital News Asia (DNA) queries, MyEG cofounder and managing director T.S. Wong (pic above) claimed that his company’s appointment could help address the issue of illegal foreign workers in the long run.

“Who are complaining? Look closely and you will realise that it is mainly the middlemen, the maid and foreign worker agencies, and some employers,” Wong accused in an email reply.

Speaking to DNA, a businessman based in the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia involved in the wood-processing industry, shared his experience when renewing foreign workers’ work permits.

The businessman, who only wanted to be known as Chan, said that he was paying a few hundred ringgit per foreign worker in “runner or agent fees.”

“I’m not sure if the fee I pay to these agents is the standard rate, but if it helps small-time businessman like me to save some money, then it should be a good thing,” said Chan.

MyEG’s Wong argued that the issue was not about the fees the company is charging, saying that he believes that they are not exorbitant.

“The issue is about what will happen to employers of illegal foreign workers and the syndicates which enable these illegal foreign workers to move about freely,” he countered.

“I cannot go into detail how our system curbs this, because of confidentiality clauses in the agreement [with the Government],” he however said.

Read more at: https://www.digitalnewsasia.com/digital-economy/facing-backlash-myeg-defends-deal-with-malaysian-govt