The Overseas Labour Department of the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in Vietnam on March 30 confirmed that the Malaysian company Asmana had not yet cleared back salaries of Vietnamese workers for the months January and February.
The workers have also to receive compensation or support for expenses incurred while they were out of work since mid-February.
Asmana said it would re-calculate these expenses and pay back salaries of all the workers.
Payments include the Vietnamese workers’ salaries for January and February at US$400-500 per month.
The workers should also be reimbursed for some unreasonable expenses that Asmana forced the workers to pay, such as fees for making special passes and health insurance.
Thus, the reimbursed money will amount from 2,000 to 3,000 Malaysia ringgits for each Vietnamese labourer.
The payment is scheduled to be made this week, in the presence of the Malaysian Labour Department, Penang State's Labour Bureau and the Vietnamese Embassy.
The above mentioned 69 workers went to Malaysia under contract with Asmana in 2010. Their jobs entailed them to clean hospitals, buildings and public areas in Penang State, around 300km from the Malaysia capital of Kuala Lumpur.
Since August 2011, Asmana has failed to pay taxes and obtain visa extensions for the workers due to financial difficulties, effectively stranding them in Malaysia.
At a working meeting in Penang State between the Labour and Expert Management Board of the Vietnamese Embassy and the Penang State Labour Department on Wednesday, the Malaysian side said Asmana and its main contractor Faber had agreed to pay overdue salaries and overtime pay to the workers.
Under the agreement, Faber will be responsible for paying the workers.
For the remaining 52 Vietnamese workers (49 women and 3 men) who are currently living in a protection centre in Kuala Lumpur and Malacca, the new company (Faber) will clear the owed amount after Malaysian Home Affairs' Immigration Department agrees.
The 17 Vietnamese workers who are currently living outside protection centres are going through procedures to get a special pass to return to Vietnam or seek new employment with another company.
The Penang State Immigration Agency said that the case had been handed over to the Malaysian Judicial Agency.
The agency is committed to working closely with the Vietnamese Embassy to ensure the legitimate interests of the Vietnamese workers.
Airfare and related expenses for the workers to return to Vietnam will be paid for by Faber.
Earlier, the NS MEDIK company of Malaysia agreed to employ 43 out of the 69 workers who would continue with their jobs at the same hospital and at the same pay scale as before.