ROME: A special unit is needed to monitor the foreign workers and students still in Malaysia after their work permits or study visas expired, said the Deputy Prime Minister.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said checks showed that many of the foreigners had remained behind to work illegally instead of returning to their countries.
He added that the country’s workforce numbered about 10 million people, including two million registered foreign workers and students.
“We need a comprehensive and holistic approach to tackle the problem,” he told Malaysian journalists after attending the three-day World Summit on Food Security which ended yesterday.
Muhyiddin had earlier held bilateral talks with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the summit aimed at pushing for a new momentum to eradicate global hunger.
Muhyiddin expressed concern that the illegal workers and some one million foreigners who entered the country illegally posed serious socio-economic problems.
Muhyiddin chairs the Cabinet Committee on Foreign Workers.
He added that the presence of the illegal workforce would thwart the Government’s efforts to create a pool of skilled local workers.
On his meeting with Sheikh Hasina, Muhyiddin said the Government would consider a request to allow Bangladeshi nationals to seek jobs in Malaysia following the freeze on work permits for some sectors last year.
He later held bilateral talks with Indonesian vice-president Prof Dr Bodiono.
Muhyiddin also expressed Malaysia’s support for the summit declaration to halve the planet’s hungry people by 2015.
However, he urged the Food and Agriculture Organisation and rich countries to speed up their aid to poor nations faced with hunger and poverty, saying “there must be less talk but more work.”
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