KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has urged the government to urgently set up a special task force to address the labour shortages in the country.
Its president, Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said the government should focus on ensuring an efficient regulation of foreign workers and manage them in a highly controlled manner instead of imposing restrictions that would be difficult to enforce.
"We urge the government to urgently set up a special task force to address the labour shortfall in various industries.
"There are capable expertise and experience in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Human Resources to look into this matter and the MEF is willing to support in any manner if required,” he said in a statement today.
Syed Hussain noted that employers are now trying to regain business traction with the gradual removal of movement restriction and cash flow assistance, however, many economic activities still cannot run fully due to the lack of manpower needed.
"Many MEF members are appealing for these resources to get their businesses going because there are no workers. This situation cuts across the construction, plantation, manufacturing and services sectors.
"For example, the plantation sector has reported a shortage of 40,000 workers and lost RM10 billion in 2020, and these losses are not recoverable,” he said.
In order to bring industries up to speed, Syed Hussain said the government should mitigate the manpower issues needed to support these industries.
"Employers have no choice but to depend on foreign workers although the cost of hiring foreign workers is much higher than local workers -- up to RM15,000 to RM20,000 per foreign worker,” he said. - Bernama