Quota approval postponed for now

PUTRAJAYA: The quota application and approval for foreign workers, including those through the Foreign Worker Employment Relaxation Plan (PKPPA), has been postponed until a date to be announced later.

Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar said the decision was made after the ministry approved a total of 995,396 employment quotas for foreign workers from various sectors as of Tuesday.

He said the number of quota approvals had taken into account the foreign worker quota applications that were normally processed and through the PKPPA which includes five critical sectors, namely manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture and services (restaurants only).

“The approval of the foreign worker quota so far is expected to be able to meet the needs of foreign labour by industries, including in critical sectors,” he said in a statement yesterday, as reported by Bernama.

In addition, he said the postponement was to ensure that employers who were given quota approval could start making plans for the immediate entry of foreign workers.

“I urge all employers who have the approval to speed up the process of hiring the workers during this period of time.

“The number of foreign workers coming in is still low compared to the number of quotas that have been approved by the ministry,” he added.

Meanwhile in George Town, LO TERN CHERN reported that the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers Penang (FMM Penang) was of the view that the government’s decision was “not favourable”.

“Normally, once applications for foreign workers are approved, we are given up to a year to bring them in,” its chairman Datuk Lee Teong Li said.

“However, many companies would prefer to bring them in in batches due to uncertainty after the pandemic.

“Such a sudden decision to put a halt to the approvals would mean those in need of foreign workers will be affected,” he said.

Lee said the federation hopes that companies would at least be given a timeframe on the postponement for them to plan ahead.

“Sectors such as semiconductor manufacturers have experienced a slowdown since the end of last year and hiring has stopped. It is only on an as-needed basis now.

“Other sectors that may still need workers are such as the medical and food industries.

“A sudden halt to hiring of foreign workers will disrupt growth of companies, especially those who are just recovering after the pandemic,” he said.

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