Proposal to hire parolees will help reduce dependency on foreign labour, says FMM

PETALING JAYA: The proposal on the employment of parolees to address labour shortages in the manufacturing sector is a welcome move, says the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

Its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai (pic) said the proposal would also help in reducing dependency on both foreign skilled or unskilled employees for the sector.

"The supply of manpower from this group, however, would require further engagements between the authority and industry players, whereby information should be shared on the availability of such candidates.

"Information on the requirements that are needed to be complied with by companies prior to employing parolees should also be shared," he said when contacted.

Soh said that the Prisons Department had also engaged with FMM even prior to the current labour shortage to offer employers an alternative source of workers.

"In particular, our members in Sarawak have also been able to tap on parolees in order to meet their manpower needs," he said, adding that there were already companies working together with the department on the employment.

"Apart from that, companies should also require guidelines from authorities on the areas and job scopes that are suitable for these candidates," he said.

He said that proper guidelines issued by the authorities would also help companies who decided to hire parolees, overcome the stigma that came with it.

"In some manufacturing sub-sectors, however, there are conditions set by customers in regards to matters related to labour issues which may render some companies unable to hire such workers," he said.

On Aug 13, it was reported that the labour shortage in the country saw employers in the service sector looking to a new source of workers – prisons.

Many were also hiring low-risk prisoners who were on parole with at least two restaurants in Penang having already employed such prisoners.

In March, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin was quoted as saying that the government was looking at the possibility of using parolees to offset the shortage of foreign workers in certain industries.

He said 80% of the 10,000 inmates expected to undergo the Parole System Programme, Licensed Release of Prisoners Programme and Resident Reintegration Programme could be deployed to fill up vacancies left by foreign workers.

A total of 7,000 inmates were currently under the Community Rehabilitation Programme.

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