KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 24): Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has expressed its concern over the discontinuation of special quotas for recruitment of foreign workers, warning that it may derail private-sector efforts to expedite the economic recovery.
In a statement on Monday (Jan 24), its president, Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman pointed out that employers which are used to the foreign workers' special quota may not be able to meet their obligations to their clients.
He also urged the government to urgently review the decision and allow such employers to continue using their special quotas of foreign workers recruitment based on their requirements.
“While employers are eager to quickly recover their businesses, they are frustrated for not being able to recruit the necessary workers as locals are not interested to fill up the vacancies for work performed by foreign workers.
“This is despite the fact that about 700,000 Malaysians are currently unemployed. Employers have exhausted all avenues to recruit the necessary workers.
“We obviously cannot mix the current unemployment issues with the need to bring in foreign workers. We must accept the reality that locals are not interested to fill up the vacancies and address the need to bring in the foreign workers urgently for the sake of our economic recovery,” he shared.
Syed Hussain added that the special quota system should be continued to enable companies to have a ready supply of workforce to meet the urgent needs due to demand beyond the expectation of such businesses.
On Jan 22, Home Minister, Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainuddin announced that there will be no more special quotas given for the recruitment of foreign workers in the country.
The minister noted that every application from employers must now go through the ministry's evaluation committee to determine the number of foreign workers eligible to be employed in accordance with the set terms and conditions.
MEF said these measures by the Home Ministry to cancel the special quota to recruit foreign workers are not in line with the desire to improve the livelihood of businesses and employees in general.
“MEF is of the view that the quota should be a sector-based and company demand-based system. It is important to understand that if employers suffer, all within the supply chain will also suffer.
“We are trying to build back our businesses with all our reserves and providing employment to locals and foreign labourers.
“Let us all accept the reality that Malaysians do not want to be in these sectors. Let us not be penny wise [but] pound foolish by coming up with rulings that will constrain our economic recovery,” he said.