KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has been flooded with five million foreign workers, including those without permit, because of over-reliance on hard labour, says Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.
The International Trade and Industry Minister said the Covid-19 pandemic had triggered the need for industry players to quickly shift to automation and robotics to reduce reliance on a massive foreign workforce.
"This is among the aspects that will be emphasised in the 12th Malaysia Plan," he said on Saturday (July 11) after opening the Azmida Technical College in Kampung Nakhoda here.
Earlier in his speech, Azmin announced a RM2mil allocation to sponsor 100 students to take up technical courses at Azmida.
"To attract hi-tech investment, we must focus on human capital development to meet the requirements of the industry," he said.
He said Azmida College also trained students from poor households, orphans and the disabled.
The Covid-19 had forced some from the M40 (middle income group) to fall into the B40 (low income) category, he added.
"And those in the B40 are in a worst situation," he said.
He lauded training centres like Azmida College for providing opportunities for students from poor households to acquire high skills and enjoy a better life.
He called on technical colleges to provide courses in automation, chemistry, mould and die, among others, to meet the demands of new industries.
He also said there were 1,185 job openings at 105 companies in 16 sectors including transport and textile.