BATU GAJAH,. The expected entry of 500,000 foreign workers into Malaysia this year will not affect job opportunities for Malaysians, says Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar.
He said the workers would be brought in from 15 source countries in Asia to be placed in sectors of no interest to local workers, including plantation, agriculture and construction.
“We find it difficult to get local workers to work in these sectors. Our dependence on foreign workers in these sectors is very high, if we cannot provide a sufficient supply of workers, it will disrupt the optimal operation of the sectors and result in huge losses,” he said when met by reporters at the lantern-lighting ceremony in Pusing here last night.
The Batu Gajah Member of Parliament said the workers’ shortage must be solved immediately because it could affect the economy as over 700,000 foreign workers have returned to their home countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said the Human Resources Ministry and the Ministry of Home Affairs had reached an agreement to simplify and speed up the process of hiring foreign workers, which now only takes three days.
“Many businesses will shut down if they don’t have enough workers so before the situation gets worse, we supply manpower for the operations of the sectors that need it,” he said, adding that the government would take measures to reduce the effects of the global economic downturn.
National Recovery Council member Datuk Michael Kang was reported as saying in October last year that Malaysia needed a total of 500,000 foreign workers to tackle the labour shortage experienced by micro, small and medium enterprises to support the country’s recovery process following the COVID-19 pandemic.