Ministry of Human Resources says 2.1 million registered foreign workers but Malaysian Employers’ Federation (MEF) say there are about 6 million of them, documented and undocumented while we still do not have the accurate figures.
The 11th Malaysia Plan, only provided for 15% maximum threshold for foreign workers compared to the total work force of 14.2 million. This means, total foreign workers should be around 2.1 million but there are up to 6 million (42%), far exceeding the requirement. Instead of dealing with this situation, the government has recently approved the hiring of more workers from Bangladesh which will further fuel the problem.
The reasons for hiring unskilled foreign workers as claimed by the government was to do the 3D (Dirty-Dangerous-Demeaning) jobs as Malaysian workers are reluctant to it. This is no longer the case; today foreign workers have gone beyond the 3-D, they are doing jobs which should be done by Malaysian Workers. E.g. Forklift drivers, Cashiers/Waiters in prominent outlets/hotels/restaurants which is depriving Malaysian workers job opportunities.
Employing excessive foreign workers has a domino effect on Malaysian workers and job seekers.
When cheaper foreign workers are hired, there is lesser demand for local workers. When the demand is lesser, wage levels drop, making local workers poorer and their livelihood more miserable. Foreign workers too will suffer with lesser wages and rights at work. This is unsustainable both economically and socially.
Some irresponsible employers have gone unpunished and Government recognises its weakness in enforcement and should not hold back in its efforts to deal with this situation.
Barisan Mantap MTUC is committed and determined to address this serious matter and suggests among others the following: (1) send back all unskilled foreign workers who are doing beyond 3D jobs, (2) transfer of expatriate’s skills and technology to Malaysian workers within a specified period and this made as a mandatory condition in their contract and (3) set up a Royal Commission to investigate the influx of foreign workers into the country.
Long live MTUC; Long live workers.