Don’t look for excuses to hire foreigners, Malaysian PM tells bosses

Sunday, May 9, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR - Pitching for the local workforce, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak has warned the employers against finding “excuses” to hire foreign workers.

Malaysia has close to three million foreign workers from the neighbouring Southeast Asian countries and from South Asia, including significant numbers from India and Bangladesh.

Najib asked the employers to treat the local workers “fairly” by offering reasonable salaries while launching the 2010 Workers’ Day celebration here Saturday.

“Look for ways to improve things instead of taking the easy way out by finding all sorts of excuses to bring in foreign workers,” The Star quoted him as saying.

Traditionally, Malaysia imports semi-skilled and unskilled workers as the local population is either not trained or not inclined.

Najib also said the government would introduce a new scheme under the 10th Malaysia Plan to be known as “shop floor training” to assist employers in providing in-house training. This, he said, would raise workers’ skills.

“Instead of sending workers for skill upgrading training elsewhere, it will be conducted at their work place.

“I believe this is more practical and cost-effective and will result in workers earning more due to their improved skill,” he said.

While tackling global recession, the government ordered the removal of foreign workers from ‘visible’ jobs like the airports and replace them with the locals.

Malaysia has a large number of illegal workers who either enter the country with the help of recruiting agencies or come as tourists and stay on.

The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) has been urging the government to regularize these workers rather than import more.

Filed under: Politics

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