The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said the requirement for foreign workers to have ready and valid work permits in order to be re-employed would defeat the overall purpose of the initiative, which was to stem lay-offs in the midst of the Covid-19 health crisis.
“Employers would usually release their foreign workers once their permits expire so many foreign workers would be ineligible for re-deployment,” said MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.
“There is a shortage of more than 62,000 workers in the plantation sector and with the freeze on a new intake of foreign workers until the end of the year, that sector could suffer losses of more than RM12bil,” he said.
Shamsuddin said that while MEF supports the government’s redeployment initiative for foreign and local workers, it hopes the government would also allow foreign workers to be re-employed across all sectors.
Meanwhile, workers unions were all for the government prioritising local manpower.
Labour Law Reform Commission co-chairman Gopal Kisham said if employers really need foreign labour, they must provide strong evidence to support their claim.
Railway Union of Malaysia president Abdul Razak Hasan shared the same opinion, adding that the government should ensure laid-off locals and youths who have trouble finding work are prioritised.
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