LANGKAWI: The government has not decided whether workers from the African continent will be allowed into the country, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
But the issue of Malaysia needing more foreign workers is evidently 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 discussing the matter with ambassadors of African countries.
Kulasegaran said the plantation sector was having trouble recruiting workers from Vietnam and Indonesia because the salary offered here for these jobs no longer attracted 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 have become entrenched for generations in a village called Bukit Malut here.
“Yes, we know they are not locals and come from some place else. They had no homes, so they started building them.
“It is not good to live in squatter homes, so we will look into preparing decent housing,” he said, adding that the Deputy Prime Minister had already issued a statement on this.
The police have set up a special team to tackle drug abuse in Langkawi, especially in Bukit Malut.
Dr Mahathir said social problems such as drug abuse could be tackled 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, which was attended by almost 10,000 Langkawi residents.
Dr Mahathir also cut one of his first birthday cakes of the year and shared a teasing moment with his wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamed Ali as they fed each other cake.
The Prime Minister’s birthday is on July 10. He turns 94 this year.
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