PETALING JAYA: The move to get employers to advertise vacancies for foreign workers and expatriates on the national employment portal has drawn support from the country’s largest employers’ group, and thumbs down from small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman welcomed the move to prioritise the employment of locals, saying it was a positive step to resolve the unemployment issue especially among fresh graduates.
“Employers intending to hire expatriates or foreign workers should first consider offering the vacancies to locals.
“Employers must justify their requirement for new expatriates and foreign workers, based on skills that are needed. As employers, where we can we must try to hire locals. This should be the way forward, ” he added.
SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang, however, said advertising vacancies on the portal would add to the “red tape” that SME faced in hiring such workers, with employers facing further delays.
“The process will be inefficient and a real waste of time for employers, ” he said.
Kang said the SME sector had reached out to the Human Resources Ministry and JobsMalaysia portal administrators to help match job seekers on the portal to existing vacancies.
“We suggested that they work with us by sharing the list of job seekers with our members to find suitable openings but they said they could not do so because it went against the Personal Data Protection Act 2010, ” he said.
Kang said SME were willing to hire locals to fill mainly the 3D jobs (dangerous, dirty and difficult) taken up by foreign labour.
“But a lot of employers find that locals do not have the right attitude and quit not long after they start, ” he said.
He said he did not think that salary was among the reasons why locals shunned such work, adding that employers in the SME sector were willing to pay monthly salaries of between RM2,000 and RM3,000.
“If more locals are willing to take up the jobs, I think employers will be open to offering even higher pay. Employers prefer to hire locals because they don’t have to endure all sorts of bureaucratic processes, ” he said.
Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said though it recognised the need to prioritise jobs for locals especially with the rise in the unemployment level, “this cannot be a blanket requirement for all expatriate positions”.
He said some key positions in foreign-owned private companies and firms operating here could not be replaced with locals, adding that certain projects could require experts from the principal company to transfer expertise and knowledge to locals.
Soh said there were instances when foreign firms set up their regional hub in Malaysia, requiring key personnel from their headquarters to be based in regional offices.
“We urge the government to give an automatic exemption for selected expatriate categories, ” he said.
Asean Chamber of Commerce acting president Datuk Sohaimi Shahadan called for further engagement with employers.
“We are not against it but there are some employers who have aired their views on this policy.
“It is better to discuss with all the relevant stakeholders so it can be implemented smoothly, ” he said.