Malaysia's Foreign Workers Recruitment on Hold

By Staff Writer

Feb 20, 2016 07:46 AM EST

Protests due to gaps in labor force prompt Malaysia to stop its recruitment of foreign workers to meet the industries' demand.  The suspension will enable the government to carefully examine the assessment system in Malaysia for overseas workers.  It was reported Friday by the Bernama news agency informing what Deputy Prime Minister Zahid Hamidi said.  The deliverance came after the protests of companies and some non-government associations that 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers will be hired over the next three years to meet the rising demands of the industries.

According to a Bloomberg report, Malaysia's Human Resource Minister Richard Riot Jaem signed a contract with the Bangladesh's government that will enable registration of 1.5 million Bangladeshis to find jobs in Malaysia. However, he mentioned as well that it didn't mean that all of those aspiring workers will be able to enter Southeast Asian nation.

The government was forced to give clarification due to the widespread criticism in Malaysia. A group of manufacturers say that hiring a large number of workers from overseas could worsen the problem of undocumented foreign labor in the country.  The policy also deviates from a plan to lessen dependence on overseas workers.

"The suspension will be in force until the government is satisfied with the manpower needs of the industries," state news agency Bernama said, citing Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. He added that enforcement measures will also be implemented against illegal foreign workers in every part of Malaysia.

The Southeast Asian country comprises of 2.1 million foreign workers that are documented, a number that drops below the 15 % of foreigner workers from a total of 15.3 million workforces, Reuters reports.

"Foreign workers without valid documents or those who have overstayed will be arrested and sent back to their country of origin," the agency quoted Hamidi as saying.

After having talks with army personnel on Friday, he informed that the cancelation would be in place while the government reviews the two-tiered levy program of the said foreign workers.  He also asked all employers to hire local workers, New Age reports.

Malaysia should closely consider labor market demands when deciding foreign worker influx since its present approval system doesn't adequately show the needs of industries.  The government confirmed that even if the foreign workers register, it is not a guarantee that they will be hired.

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