The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) welcomes the Government’s move to freeze the intake of foreign workers.
Its secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam said the move would put pressure on employers to consider hiring locals rather than taking the easy way out by relying on foreign workers.
“We welcome the move as it will stop the influx of more foreign workers into the country. However, we still insist that a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) be set up to identify the root cause of why there are still millions of illegal workers in the country,” he said yesterday.
Gopal Kishnam added that the Government must also assess the actual number of foreign labourers needed by the industries.
“They must be able to tell us how many foreign workers are needed in the specific sectors over the next five years,” he said.
He said the freeze would also be a good opportunity for employers to give priority to hiring locals.
“Officially, some 30,000 workers have been retrenched and the numbers may be much higher. The freeze will be an opportunity to see if locals are willing to take up 3D jobs (dangerous, dirty and difficult),” he said.
He said the Government must also find out why locals were shying away from the 3D jobs.
In Johor Baru, Johor Indian Business Association president P. Sivakumar called on the Government to provide better incentives and attractive wages for Malaysians now that the recruitment of all foreign workers into the country had been suspended.
He said the Government should draw up plans that could benefit the local skilled workforce.
“Thousands of Malaysians cross the Causeway daily to get into Singapore to work in jobs with a salary of more than RM3,000. Here, their pay would be about RM900,” he said.
He said it was time for the authorities to give a clearer picture of the need for foreign labour here.
Johor Baru Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry deputy president Low Kueck Shin said labour problems in Malaysia were nothing new, adding that the issues had been raised by the industries for years.
“Over the last few years, the number of legal and illegal foreigners working here has been on the rise due to demand. There is also a lack of interest from Malaysians, particularly youths, who want to start their own business.
“The Government should come up with a master plan solution that could solve labour problems long term instead of changing plans frequently,” he said.
news source: thestar.com.my