MTUC notes that Datuk Seri Johari is finally acknowledging the fact that reliance on foreign workers has deprived the locals from being paid RM2,700-00 as a minimum wage.
We are also surprised that it took more than 20 years for the government to realise it, in April 2018 of the fact that Malaysian workers are deprived of a living wage due to the huge dependency on foreign workers.
What happened to all the numerous calls by the Unions voicing out the wage deprecation due to the influx of foreign worker?
What steps did the government take to curb the inflow of foreign workers since the 1980s?
In addition to the misery caused to Malaysian workers woes, just three years ago the government made an announcement to bring in another 1.5 million foreign workers.
Again, what action did the Government take when Unions voiced the exploitation of foreign workers, it only fell on deaf ears of the related Ministries?
The Government cannot blame anyone but themselves for the problems caused by excess foreign workers. This influx of foreign workers has caused extreme depression to Malaysians in the B40 and M40 category whose rights to job opportunities and decent livelihood were robbed from them for the last 20 years.
Despite being the underlying cause of the influx of foreign workers, we are surprised that the Government is now turning around and asking businesses to be automated and begin using artificial intelligence in order to ensure the minimum wage is paid for Malaysians to live decently. Is it a case of too little, too late or misdirected attention again?
MTUC welcomes technology but unfortunately the emphasis of technology is not directed to the labour intensified sectors where there is high dependency for foreign workers but rather in service sectors where there are largely Malaysians working.
The Government and the employers from the service sectors are aggressively using technology to the extent of laying off Malaysians who have served them for many years and replacing Malaysian graduates with foreign graduates without giving any opportunities for these Malaysian workers to prosper.
Making the situation worsen, the service sector is even getting rid of Malaysian workers and opting for automation and artificial intelligence merely to compete with the western world, under the guise of remaining competent.
The service sector is in the position to set an example by introducing the RM2,700.00 as recommended by the Bank Negara Malaysia as most service providers are profiting in Billions, not millions, but unfortunately the wealth is not shared equitably.
If the 2nd Minister of Finance wishes to do justice to Malaysians he must first ensure the Banks and the GLCs under his ministry should be exemplary in providing the minimum living wage of RM2,700.00 to the workers as automation and technology has already been a part of the bank scene since 1980s.
The need to reduce foreign workers in the banks in order to enjoy the BNM recommended minimum wage does not arise as there are no foreign workers in the banks. The sooner the authorities wake up and deal with the real issue instead of ‘red herrings’, the better off the nation will be for it.