PETALING JAYA: The Human Resources Ministry should be given full authority in the hiring of foreign labour, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
The Ayer Hitam MP and MCA deputy president said this would prevent the overlapping of duties between departments in coordinating foreign labour issues.
His statement, which was posted on his Facebook page, came after Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran’s wrap-up speech in Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
Dr Wee claimed Kulasegaran had said before he became a minister that Malaysia did not need more foreign labour and that importance should be placed on hiring locals.
“However, after taking the job as the minister, he admitted that many locals are not interested in 3D (dirty, dangerous, difficult) jobs.
“He said he received many requests from local employers to let them hire more foreign workers. He now feels the heat,” he said.
Dr Wee said Kulasegaran now shared his opinion on the need for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to hire foreign workers to address labour shortage.
The minister also said he would bring up several proposals in the Cabinet meeting, he noted.
In giving suggestions to Kulasegaran, Dr Wee said the Government should relax restrictions for the hiring of foreign workers as SMEs were not able to recruit locals to work in 3D sectors.
He said the Government should also strike a balance in implementing the minimum wage policy.
“The implementation of the minimum wage at RM1,500 will affect SMEs because the policy includes foreign workers.
“Locals are not benefiting from this and SMEs will have to pay higher salary to hire foreign workers.
“This will cause operation costs for SMEs to escalate,” he said, adding that the Government should also stop giving foreign labour permits to outsourcing companies.
Dr Wee said while the Government was implementing the rehiring programme for illegal foreign workers, it also allowed the entry of new foreign workers.
“Such a situation has to be closely monitored to prevent Malaysia from becoming a smuggling hub for foreign workers,” he said.
He urged Kulasegaran to visit Muar and see for himself the tremendous demand of foreign workers in the furniture industry there.
To improve the productivity of the industry and boost furniture exports, Dr Wee said Kulasegaran should immediately approve the entry of 20,000 foreign workers.
“When Kulasegaran was in the Opposition, he always raised issues related to human resources and his criticisms were loud.
“He is the minister now and he finally understands the difficulties faced by the previous administration. For this, I appreciate his frankness and I hope he will bring about improvement,” Dr Wee added.
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