Freeze on foreign worker intake to be partially lifted
KUALA LUMPUR: The freeze on foreign worker recruitment for three subsectors will be partially lifted, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said Putrajaya will not completely lift the ban, which had been in place since 2009, for now for textile, goldsmith and barber shops.
“Since there is an urgent need (of workers in these subsectors), we will approve (the recruitment), but not in its entirety.
“(Human Resources) Minister (V. Sivakumar) will bring the matter to the Cabinet when it meets this Friday so we can approve a portion (of these applications) for these three sectors,” he said during the launch of the Lestari Niaga programme at D’Medan Selera Madani Kompleks Tun Sambanthan here yesterday.
Anwar also said that RM10mil would be allocated to upgrade the condition of restaurants and eateries in Kuala Lumpur.
The Prime Minister said he wants Kuala Lumpur to be recognised as a clean and pleasant city for all, regardless of race or religion.
“I was informed that the funds for the city have been insufficient, and it’s because of this I will be adding another RM10mil in allocation to upgrade its restaurants and eateries,” he added.
The Star in its report on March 16 reported that the three subsectors have been appealing for the freeze on foreign worker recruitment to be lifted.
The Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) had said the three subsectors have not had sufficient foreign labour because of the 2009 freeze.
It said the present foreign workers have been on temporary employment passes which are renewed on a yearly basis.
However, those passes will be terminated in stages.
Anwar also said he hopes the Human Resources Ministry will provide training or incentives to ensure the country’s Indian youths are trained and employed.
“Each time I meet an Indian leader, they would bring up these three sectors, so I said okay, I will grant the approval for now.
“But let’s also add Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for our Indian youths.”
Meanwhile, Sivakumar had confirmed that a memorandum on lifting the freeze on the subsectors will be presented to the Cabinet on Friday.
He also said he previously held discussions with Home Minister Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and the late Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Datuk Seri Salahuddin Ayub about reopening the three subsectors.
Sivakumar also said requests have been made to bring in a total of 15,000 foreign workers for the sectors.
“The number isn’t that high at around 6,000 for the textile sector, 6,000 for barber shops and 3,000 for goldsmiths.
“We will look into each request on a case by case basis,” he added.