PETALING JAYA: Klang MP Charles Santiago has warned the government of the likelihood of more Malaysians going overseas to work illegally unless it does something to increase wages in the country.
The warning was based on a recent report that there are an estimated 5,000 Malaysians working and staying illegally in South Korea.
A team sent by the Star Media Group’s Bahasa Malaysia news portal mStar Online found many of these Malaysians stranded and destitute.
Among those the team met were Malaysians who had suffered permanent disability after workplace accidents and some who were broke and homeless after being fired by their employers.
Speaking to FMT, Santiago, who is also an economist, said the fact that Malaysians were willing to brave such risks to work illegally overseas painted a sad picture about the condition of salaries in Malaysia.
“I think it really shows that Malaysians don’t find work in the country attractive any more because of low or stagnant wages,” he said.
“Working illegally in South Korea is also very risky because the laws are very strict, yet Malaysians are willing to face the possibility of being deported or jailed because they feel the risks are worth it.”
Santiago said it was ironic that while Malaysia was bringing in migrant workers from other countries, Malaysians were going out to find jobs.
He said another possible reason Malaysians might be going overseas looking for jobs was that employers preferred foreign workers as they could save on wages and related payments.
“It’s highly possible that because employers prefer hiring foreigners, it’s getting harder for locals to find employment.
“Local employers don’t like hiring local workers because they have to pay them Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and insurance but they don’t have to if they hire foreigners.”
In June last year, an Australian daily reported Malaysians as being the worst offenders when it came to overstaying in that country.
According to The Courier Mail, more than 64,000 people are living illegally in Australia, with Malaysians topping the list at 9,440 people.
The report also said that as many as 20,000 of the 64,600 were believed to be working, adding that the total number of people overstaying had increased 6% compared with five years ago.
Source : http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/03/16/raise-wages-to-stop-locals-going-overseas-to-work-says-mp/