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theSun | MONDAY MARCH 30 2009 5

news without borders

Defer levy increase,

says federation
by Yee Jie Min to attract higher female labour force participation,” Mustafa said.
He urged the government to review the
KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of proposed changes to the levy policy and
Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has defer the implementation on doubling
called for a deferrment of the increase the foreign workers levy until economic
in foreign workers levy proposed in the conditions improve and levy changes are
second economic stimulus package. appropriately planned.
FMM president Datuk Mustafa Mansur Bernama reported yesterday 26,224
said levy changes in the present difficult workers have been retrenched as of
economic conditions, without giving the March 19.
industry sufficient time for adjustment, It quoted Malaysian Employers
would adversely affect business and Federation (MEF) executive director
increase unemployment. Shamsuddin Bardan as saying 12,674
The government has proposed to Malaysians and 6,651 foreigners lost their
double the levy for foreign workers from jobs outright while the rest took part in
RM1,600 to RM3,600 a year in all sec- voluntary separation schemes (VSS).
tors, except construction, plantation and He expected more workers to be re-
domestic maids. Another proposal is that trenched in the weeks ahead if there was
the levy, previously paid by the workers, no improvement in the economy.
would now be paid by the employers. He said the recent mini budget did not
Strong support ... Supporters of Barisan Nasional candidate Ismail Saffian In a statement, Mustafa said FMM’s have much an impact on the companies
(above) and PAS candidate Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin gather in full force second survey on the impact of the global nor was there immediate incentive for
outside Taiping Town Hall during nominations for the Bukit Gantang by-election yesterday economic crisis, conducted from Feb 18 companies to retain their workers.
morning. The third contestant in the by-election is independent Kamarul Ramizu Idris. to March 6, had shown that exports, Except for the reduction in the contri-
domestic sales, production, new orders, bution to the Human Resource Develop-
profits, capital investments and expendi- ment Fund (HRDF) by 0.5%, there was
ture are already badly affected. nothing immediate to gain.
They are expected to deteriorate fur- While it was true that the reduction
ther in the next six to nine months and would contribute some RM300 million a
immediate changes to the levy policy year to the manufacturing sector, it was
would only hasten the deterioration proc- insufficient as the companies were badly
ess. affected by the economic downturn.
Mustafa suggested that the policy and He proposed that companies be given
procedure changes should be pre-an- direct subsidies for retaining workers
nounced and implemented on a gradual as was being done in a neighbouring
basis, according to a set time-frame and country.
in stages such as beginning with new Shamsuddin said employers were
recruitment and then renewals. doing their best to avoid retrenchment
He said that while FMM supports the and to sustain their companies as long
need to reduce the dependency on foreign as they could.
workers and to move towards greater au- On the proposal to increase the levy
tomation and modernisation up the value on foreign workers, he said it would not
added chain, businesses must be given deter employers from employing foreign-
adequate time to adjust their manpower ers because Malaysians were not keen to
requirements and plan their operations to take up jobs in such establishments due
phase out foreign workers. to the environment and difficult nature
“Instead of doubling the levy immedi- of the job.
ately, the government should consider a For example, in the glass manufactur-
gradual increase over time and in propor- ing sector, the mould stripper’s job was
tion to the percentage of foreign workers not taken up by Malaysians because it
employed. Additionally, the levy policy entailed working in a very hot and humid
must also be standard across all sectors,” environment for long hours.
said Mustafa. Shamsuddin said the government
Since every business sector is facing should be pragmatic and do away with
financial difficulties, setting different the increase in levy as it would burden
Kepala Batas projects will continue: Abdullah levy rates for different sectors would be
exploited, he said.
the already weak private sector.
The Malaysian Trades Union Con-
KEPALA BATAS: Datuk Seri Abdullah here. The projects involve 10 departments, Foreign workers brought in officially gress (MTUC), while sympathising with
Ahmad Badawi has given the assurance including education, health, police, youth for the lower levy sector could be de- the employers, called on them to improve
that development projects in the Kepala and sports, and fire and rescue. Sixteen of ployed illegally as contract or temporary the work conditions to attract locals.
Batas parliamentary constituency will con- the RM391 million projects are related to
N. Korea workers to employers in the higher levy Its vice-president, A. Balasubramaniam,
tinue even if he no longer holds the prime education. may sector. Therefore, policy and procedural said employers often gave the excuse that
minister’s post. Abdullah said more infrastructure launch changes, in particular those relating to Malaysians were not interested in taking
Abdullah, who is the Kepala Batas MP, projects should be implemented as they foreign workers, should be more com- up jobs now being done by foreigners
said yesterday it did not mean that when could benefit the people directly. He said
mid-range prehensive. but they refuse to pay higher wages and
one was no longer the prime minister, his the huge number of projects is appropriate missile “The operations of outsourcing com- provide better perks and incentives.
area would be left behind. as Kepala Batas is the administrative centre pg 8 panies should be terminated to address He reiterated the MTUC’s long-stand-
“Development programmes will con- for the Seberang Perai district. indiscriminate recruitment and over- ing call to the government to beef up
tinue in this area. It doesn’t mean that de- Abdullah also assured Kepala Batas supply. Levies should be used to help its enforcement agencies to ensure that
velopment projects will cease once I’m no constituents he would devote more time businesses finance their mechanisation employers followed the country’s laws
longer the prime minister,” he said when to the area once he stepped down as the efforts, such as investments in automa- in providing the basic minimum work
opening 28 federal development projects prime minister. – Bernama tion and in setting up childcare centres conditions and benefits.

NPC more likely in those with Chinese ancestry

» From Front Page the study was the finding that EBV infec- among both these ethnic groups. succumb to NPC.
tion caused a tumour-suppressor gene (a However, she said, new data from the “NPC that has metastasised (spreading
“Intriguingly, although almost 90% of the gene that protects a cell from developing study suggests that ATM may be a marker in other organs) or is recurrent (growing
world’s population are infected with EBV, into cancer) called ATM, to “vanish” in NPC to enable clinicians to predict whether again) are most common causes of treat-
most people who are infected with it do not tissue samples. patients are likely, or not, to respond to ment failure. Therefore, there is an urgent
develop NPC,” Carif chief executive Prof Dr This suggests that ATM, which actually radiotherapy and chemotherapy. need for more research into how we can
Teo Soo-Hwang (pix) told theSun. protects cells from becoming cancerous, Teo said NPC can often be treated effec- prevent, detect and treat this endemic
Teo, who is also an academician with fails to mobilise its “defensive armour” tively with a combination of radiotherapy disease,” Teo said.
UM, said: “NPC is more likely in people when EBV invades the cells. and chemotherapy. “We are now conducting further
with Chinese ancestry and is also linked to To a question by theSun, Teo said EBV’s Unfortunately, because more than 70% research, in collaboration with partners
environmental and dietary factors such as interference with the protective ATM gene of patients are already affected by late in the UK and Malaysia, to determine
the large-scale consumption of salted fish is not “necessarily remarkable” among the stages of the disease and some of these whether this new information may be
and preserved food.” Bidayuh or Malaysian ethnic Chinese, to patients are resistant to many forms of used in the diagnosis and treatment of
Another breakthrough accomplished in cause such a high incidence of the disease treatment, a number of these patients still NPC.”