BUTTERWORTH: Increasing wages would be the best way to retain the local workforce and reduce our reliance on foreigners, says V. Sivakumar.
The Human Resources Minister said there was still demand for workers in local industries but many locals were opting to work overseas due to various reasons, with wages being the most likely.
"Many locals are working overseas such as in Singapore, were about 1.18 million of them are there and about 1.8 million globally.
"Employers here have to look at this as a sign that we are not lacking workers, but due to issues such as wages and benefits being offered elsewhere that have led to them preferring to work overseas.
"We can increase the wage scheme for the long term and should not always be bound to the government's national minimum wage of RM1,500.
"Increasing wages is the most effective way to reduce our reliance on a foreign workforce," he told reporters after closing the MYFuturejobs career and Housewives' Social Security Scheme (SKSSR) carnival at PICCA @ Butterworth Arena here on Sunday (June 4).
Sivakumar said to support employers, the government was providing the Daya Kerjaya Programme with incentives up to RM1,800 for three months for new employees hired under targeted groups.
"According to statistics by MYFutureJobs, there are currently 58,717 vacancies in Penang with 40% of them offered to foreign workers," he said.
The two-day event saw over 7,000 vacancies offered by 56 employers.