MEF expresses concerns over foreign worker hiring freeze

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) hopes the Government’s decision to suspend the recruitment of foreign workers will not involve or burden local employers who had already received approval to do so.

Executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said there was a possibility of some employers having already made payments or had specific commitments and the Government’s decision may delay their work.

“I fear that if the Government is serious over its decision, and this includes preventing the entry of workers from Bangladesh, it would send a confusing message to industry players in Malaysia, with them possibly lacking full confidence in the Government, “ he told Bernama.

Shamsuddin said this when asked to comment on the announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on the suspension of the recruitment of foreign workers from all countries of sourcing until the Government was satisfied with the real manpower needs of industries.

The suspension decision was made after the Bangladesh government signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday with Malaysia on sending workers to the country.

Meanwhile, Shamsuddin also urged the Government to limit the scope of work of the foreign workers, if a large number of them were still required in Malaysia.

He said the types of work still undertaken by foreign workers could involve the plantation and construction sectors among others.

“However, this situation should not be continued as the work could be modernised, in line with Malaysia’s aspiration of becoming a developed nation by 2020,” he added.

Shamsuddin said to achieve this status, the recruitment of foreign labour needed to be reduced and local companies must replace manpower with more efficient machinery.

“At the same time, this transformation will also result in enhanced productivity for the companies, compared to the use of physical manpower.

“In the construction sector for instance, local companies must use the industrialised building system (IBS) technology which is cost efficient, fast and of quality,” he added.

The IBS system refers to the use of pre-fabricated construction materials used widely in developed countries. “Using this system, about 80% of the foreign manpower needs can be reduced. It is also suggested that companies undertake a rebranding for certain types of work in Malaysia to enhance its status.

“For example, domestic help or maids could be labelled as home managers,” Shamsuddin said. — Bernama

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