Sabah minister: Hire migrants and stateless people

KOTA KINABALU: Sabah should look into recruiting migrants and stateless people to ease the labour shortage in the various industries, says state Industrial Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Datuk Phoong Jin Zhe.

Although this could be a sensitive topic for many, he said it was something that had to be looked into seriously and dealt with.He cited the plantation industry as an example where a worker shortage had persisted.

Furthermore, he said Sabah’s move to boost industrialisation meant that there is a constant need for labour.

“Dependency on foreign workers could be reduced if the state is able to tap into the current available sources in Sabah,” he said after attending a Chinese New Year luncheon with media practitioners here yesterday.

On Jan 25, United Nations’ Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei resident coordinator Karima El Korri highlighted the urgency to devise solutions to address statelessness and undocumented people in the state.

Phoong said there should be mechanisms to allow non-citizens to contribute to the state’s economic growth.

He said he understood the gravity of the situation and the issue was something that had been often been politicised.

However, this was not a matter that should be continuously ignored, he said.

“The fact that many industries, especially the plantation side, continue to hire undocumented people is proof that the state should seriously look into finding alternative means to solve the various related matters,” he said.

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