KUCHING: Deputy Home Minister Datuk Masir Kujat said the government is leaving the option of recruiting North Korean workers open. He said there has been no directive to stop the recruitment of North Korean workers per se and the government has left it to the private sector to decide.
“So far, there is no directive to stop them from recruiting North Korean workers,” Masir told The Borneo Post yesterday.
As for the last batch of 35 North Korean workers whose work permits expired in May, the Sri Aman MP wondered why their employers did not apply for extension of their work permits.
“Since there is no directive not to recruit North Korean workers, why their employers did not continue the contracts, I am also not sure. The fact remains that no one applied for renewal of their work permits. So upon expiry, these 35 North Korean workers with valid permits just left the state,” said Masir.
With the 35 leaving the state, Masir said there were now no more North Korean workers in Sarawak.
“The last batch of 35 had their work permits expired in May. After these workers left, there is no more of them left in the state. They have all departed,” Masir told The Borneo Post yesterday.
Sarawak has since the 1980s been recruiting North Korean workers, who are known to be committed, disciplined and productive workers, especially in coal mines and the construction sector.
They usually stayed at their workplace and did not mix with the locals. As they were reclusive and preferred to lay low, their presence was hardly known to the public.
Their presence in Sarawak, however, has been brought into the limelight especially during the recent strenuous situation between Malaysia and North Korea following disagreements over the investigation of the murder of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 on Feb 13.
Sarawak was also brought into the limelight because it is the only state in Malaysia that employed North Korean workers.