Senator: 5.8 million foreign workers is an alarming figure, what is the government’s plan?

SHAH ALAM, 5 Sept: Senator Syed Shahir Syed Mohamud is of the opinion that the Federal Government has failed to reduce the total reliance on foreign workers and that the figure is deemed to be alarming.

He said that the total 5.8 million foreign workers mentioned by the Human Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Richard Riot, is high when, overall, the country has almost 13 million workers.

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According to him, a resolution was previously voiced by stating that the number of foreign workers in this country needs to be reduced to a figure in 2015.

“The figure quoted is very alarming because the figure is large, nearly 6 million. As we know, the total workforce in Malaysia is almost 13 million, this means 40 to 50 percent of the workforce.

“We do not oppose it, but we know that the workforce contributes to national development, but at the same time, the government must be serious regarding this issue.

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“Who is to be blamed? This should be stressed. The ones bringing in are contractors and agents, but who is issuing permits or licences? On what grounds are these licence issued?” he told Selangor Kini.

The Human Resources Minister, Datuk Seri Richard Riot, previously drew attention to the number of foreign workers currently in the country, which is about 5.8 million.

He said that only half of the total, or approximately 2.9 million, are legal foreign workers and that this is a situation that is quite worrying.

The former President of the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said that the entry of these workers, to some extent, is affecting local workers and should be given attention.

“The salary offered to foreign workers is relatively low despite some saying that the cost is very high.

“Therefore, this will lead to the wages of the workers to not go up,” he added.

Touching on the question of productivity, he explained that the use of too many foreign workers is seen as being likely to cause the industries to focus more on the use of the workforce at a lower cost compared to buying more expensive machinery.

“If you talk about productivity and so on, with foreign workers for industries that do not require skill, in the end industry players will not enhance its industrial technology.

“This is because they think that bringing in foreign workers is cheaper than buying machinery that is more expensive,” he said.

NS

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