India to finalise MOU on recruitment of workers

KUALA LUMPUR: India will finalise a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Malaysia on the recruitment of its workers amid complaints of labour crunch from local bosses.

India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan said the relevant parties were in the process of finalising the text for signing of an MOU for employment, recruitment and repatriation of workers between both countries.

“I am confident this will pave the way for streamlining movement of workers from India to Malaysia as well as for better protection of their rights,” Muraleedharan said at an Indian community function on Thursday night, Bernama reported.

At present, more than 225,000 Indian nationals are living and working in Malaysia.

In 2022, Malaysia agreed to open up more sectors for foreign workers from India.

Workers from India are allowed to work in several sectors, including in restaurants under the services category and high tension cable installations under the construction category.

Employers are claiming that while the acute shortage of foreign workers in several sectors has eased, the problem is far from over.

For one, the manufacturing sector needs to fill the manpower gap, having experienced a sharp drop in foreign workers from 697,124 in 2019 to 391,831 workers in 2021.

As at March 14, the Human Resources Ministry had approved an employment quota of 995,396 foreign workers.

At another function, Muraleedharan said India was looking forward to working closely with Malaysia in the implementation of India’s Indo-Pacific vision – the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).

He said Malaysia, a founding member of Asean and one of the most dynamic economies in the region, had the potential to further advance the role of India-Asean in the Indo-Pacific.

“India has the IPOI that relies on the Asean-led mechanisms and the leaders-led East Asia Summit (EAS) framework.

“Malaysia is welcome to join any pillar of interest of the IPOI, and work together for sustainable development of the Indo-Pacific region,” he said in his keynote address at the “India-Asean Dynamics in the Emerging Indo-Pacific Order: Pathways to Cooperation beyond the Third Decade” international conference.

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