Saturday, April 17

MTUC: Govt’s dilly-dally on whether to reduce number of foreign workers exasperating

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Andrew Lo

KUCHING: The government’s dilly-dally on whether to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country has been really exasperating, said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo.

“What is there to decide? It is glaring and obvious that we have to trim the number of foreign workers even before the Movement Control Order (MCO).

“To think otherwise is a camel with its head in the sand,” he said in a statement today.

He said that for years, the country has been creating low-value jobs to suit foreign workers and ‘feeding’ the recruitment agents.

“This led to Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s claims that Malaysia needed foreign labour because the number of local workers was insufficient to meet the demand of the workforce required.

“Why are we creating industries to employ million of workers of other countries who send back their wages to help on the development of other countries?” he questioned.

He said the government had for years stated its intention to improve labour productive through higher value and highly skilled jobs.

“This will remain a pipe dream as there is no incentive for employers to invest in technology and modern production methods as long as there are abundant cheap and mostly illegal foreign workers,” he said.

He also said the government must mobilise and restructure jobs in the country and not the workers.

“Otherwise we are putting a square peg into a round hole,” he added.

On another note, he wondered how many of Malaysia’s estimated four million workers had been tested for Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) considering that in Singapore, the majority of Covid-19 positive individuals there are foreign workers.