Replacing foreign workers with locals too idealistic

 

We refer to the Malaysiakini report 

Restauranteurs lament increase in foreign workers levy.

If Malaysia is serious in maintaining her economy’s growth in the long term, she should fulfill the employment needs of the various business sectors without disruption.

The recent doubling of the levy on foreign workers from RM600 to RM1,200 is once again seen as a disruption to the local food-based sector which may lead to the closure of several restaurants and eateries in the country.

Malaysians have grown choosy and now shun blue-collar jobs. They cannot really be blamed as modernisation has brought about radical changes in the field of economics.

The growth of urbanisation has increased the per capita income. There is a rise in the gross national product, an increase in literacy, a high rate of political participation and a ‘natural’ view of things (secularisation). These are some of the real reasons why Malaysia relies very much on foreign workers in some sectors.

Many Malaysians today chose to do menial jobs on a temporary basis when pressed by economic circumstances and when the opportunity arises for clerical or other white collar jobs, they make the jump. Thus the notion of locals replacing foreign workers is not possible

The human resources minister is hoping to make the changes merely by playing the ‘chance game’ but he must look at the practical side.

He has pointed out that while offering training for the locals and increasing the levy, he is hopeful of slowly replacing foreign workers in the country with locals.

Perhaps his training should involve the entire social system to be mobilised including the religious groups, the schools, the work groups, the voluntary organisations, the media and the political parties in order to see some success.

The government should set up an ad hoc commission to study the real need of foreign workers in the country and submit recommendations. It is rather surprising to learn from him that there are more than a million illegal workers in the country and another two million legal foreign workers.

Malaysians will still remember the millions of taxpayers’ momey already spent a couple of years ago to reduce the number of aliens in the country. This is a serious matter of concern especially when Malaysia has many minority communities which have a high rate of non-skilled people.

Where do they stand in terms of foreigner labour who are immediate favorites with the employers as evidently seen in our retail sector – foreigners are now even employed as cashiers and sales persons.

The writer is president, Malaysian Indian Business Association (Miba).

 

 

Replacing foreign workers with locals too idealistic, Malaysiakini letter by P Sivakumar 

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