PETALING JAYA: Bosses have slammed the government’s move to restrict foreign labour to the construction, agriculture and plantation sectors in the future, saying this will further devastate other industries trying to recover from the movement control order.
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said sectors were denied foreign workers would face acute manpower shortage, causing disruption to operations.
Of the two million registered foreign workers, less than 42% or 837,800 are employed in the construction, agriculture and plantation sectors while the rest are in manufacturing (about 700,000), services (about 309,000) and domestic work (about 130,000).
“It is unfortunate the government has not discussed with stakeholders such a major policy shift prior to the announcement in Parliament, ” Shamsuddin said.
He warned the government must answer if Malaysians were willing to take up the jobs after foreign workers from the other sectors were repatriated.
“Everyone knows foreign workers are only allowed to be recruited after the employers have proven that there were no local workers available to fill up the vacancies, ” he said yesterday.
“Phasing out foreign workers is possible – if done in stages and if it can be shown that locals are prepared to fill the vacancies currently occupied by foreign workers.
“But it’s impossible to expect local workers to take up the positions overnight, ” he said.
Deputy Human Resources Minister Awang Hashim announced in Dewan Rakyat
the government had decided to allow foreign workers to work in the construction, agriculture and plantation sectors while jobs in other sectors were to be filled by local workers.
He said this was a move to cut the nation’s reliance on foreign workers and help secure job opportunities for Malaysians.
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