PETALING JAYA: Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan has downplayed reports that more than 400,000 Malaysians are lured to work in Singapore due to its stronger currency and better salary.
Saravanan said that such an occurrence is not limited to Malaysia but is also happening globally.
"This is a global approach; we cannot make such comparisons.
"Some Malaysians go to work in Singapore because of its currency.
"But there are workers from Indonesia who also come to Malaysia because our pay is better.
"This is nothing new," he told reporters after launching the mynext initiative on Thursday (Aug 11).
A local Malay daily reported that some 400,000 Malaysians are working in Singapore with an average payment between RM6,095 and RM9,624 just by doing odd jobs and working in the 3D sector (dangerous, dirty and difficult).
Citing an example, Saravanan said that Malaysia had also attracted workers from various countries including from Nepal who worked in the security sector.
"This is because our locals do not want to work as security guards," he added.
He also said the ministry would look into the issue of brain drain in a comprehensive manner, taking into consideration the minimum wage and the economic growth.
"We do not see this issue from just one perspective," he said.
On the plea by the Malaysian Muslim Restaurant Operators Association (Presma) calling for an extension of the foreign workers' recruitment period, Saravanan said that he had just received the information.
"We will discuss it first at the ministry level," he said.
The association expressed concern that over 3,000 Mamak restaurants nationwide might close down owing to the lack of workers.
The call from the association comes after the authorities announced the suspension of foreign workers intake between Aug 15 and 31.