More foreign labour soon

More to come: Foreign workers atop a construction site in Kuala Lumpur. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Indonesian workers for the plantation and manufacturing industries will be arriving in Malaysia to overcome the manpower shortage in these two critical sectors as Malaysia steps up its production.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri S. Saravanan said Malaysia began receiving the first few batches of Indonesian workers from May 22 for these two sectors.

ALSO READ: Resolving worker shortage woes

“We are expecting bigger numbers of Indonesian workers (17,987) in one to two months’ time for the plantation and manufacturing sectors,” he said.

“As of June 17, 19,043 foreign workers have arrived in Malaysia since early this year. We are expecting bigger numbers to arrive within a few months’ time. The number that I have shared just now was for the earlier approval given by the Home Ministry,” he said in an exclusive interview.

The labour shortage in the oil palm plantation industry is said to be at breaking point with fears that Malaysia is unable to capitalise on high palm oil prices.

Consequently, the country could suffer production losses because of the acute shortage of workers, mainly Indonesians.

Due to the paucity of workers in the oil palm plantation sector, revenue losses are expected to be around RM20bil.

Saravanan said he was aware of the problem and its impact on the nation as the second largest palm oil producer in the world.

On the issue of domestic maids from Indonesia, he said the first batch was expected to arrive by the end of this month or early next month.

Importantly, the conclusion of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between both countries had paved the way for the entry of Indonesian workers for the formal sectors.

Saravanan also said Malaysia was taking steps to look at alternative source countries apart from Indonesia.

“The ministry is exploring bilateral arrangements with other source countries such as Cambodia. We are in the midst of finalising an MOU with Cambodia for both domestic and formal sectors,” he said.

“We are also looking into implementing a pilot project for the hiring of domestic workers from Nepal.”

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