Kuala Lumpur, May 12: Malaysia today said it will lift the freeze on hiring foreign labour for four key sectors including manufacturing and plantation, a move likely to benefit workers from India who desire to work in the country.
Malaysia Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the Cabinet took this decision after the manufacturing, construction, plantation and furniture-making industries, complained they were facing a major shortage of workers.
"In view of the acute shortage, we have to lift the suspension to allow these sectors to bring in foreign workers," he said. Malaysia is heavily reliant on foreign workers as its nationals don't want to work in these sectors.
Gardeners, security guards, house maids are other areas where foreign workers are employed. The country's main source of foreign labour is from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
There have been innumerable cases of job agents conning job seekers promising them employment and abandoning them on their arrival here. "On other sectors, we will go on a case-by-case basis, while waiting for the creation of a more foolproof, transparent and accountable system," Liow added.
"Workers are important for the productivity of these sectors, so if employers face too many uncertainties in hiring workers, that will not go well for the nation's economic growth," he said.
However, he emphasised that it was important for the Government to regulate and have proper control over the hiring of foreign workers in Malaysia. A survey by the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers showed that 84 per cent of manufacturers were facing a labour shortage, with half of them claiming that they had not been able to fulfil existing orders, The Star reported recently.
The survey showed 146 companies required 13,270 new workers this year to meet their business needs and replace unfit or returning workers. Only 55,000 illegals have been rehired so far under a new scheme, out of the estimated 1.4 million said to be in the country.