LANGKAWI: The Government has not decided whether workers from Africa will be allowed into the country, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He said that the issue of Malaysia needing more foreign workers is his pet peeve.
"I find that we have many people in Malaysia. There is actually no need to bring in foreigners. But Malaysians don't want to work. Since they don't want to work, we have to give it to other people," he said.
Dr Mahathir was commenting on Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran's revelation that he had been in discussion with ambassadors of African countries over the issue.
Kulasegaran said the plantation sector was having trouble recruiting workers from Vietnam and Indonesia because the salaries offered here for these jobs were no longer attractive to them.
On another matter, Dr Mahathir said the Government was making arrangements to build decent housing for a settlement of illegal immigrants, mostly from Myanmar, who had been entrenched for generations in the Bukit Malut village here.
"Yes, we know they are not locals and come from someplace else.
"They had no homes so they started building them by themselves.
"It is not good to live in squatter homes so we will look into preparing decent housing," he said, adding that Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had already issued a statement on this.
Dr Mahathir was commenting on police setting up a special team to tackle drug abuse in Langkawi, especially in Bukit Malut.
He said social problems such as drug abuse could be settled after decent housing was provided.
He added that the squatters built their homes so densely that "we can't even get in there now".
He was speaking to reporters at his Hari Raya open house, attended by almost 10,000 people.
Dr Mahathir was also given a birthday cake and shared a tender moment with his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali when they fed each other cake.
Dr Mahathir's birthday falls on July 10. He turns 94 this year.
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