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Malaysia’s response to Myanmar suspending the flow of workers

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Commenting on reports about the Myanmar government suspending the pipeline of workers to Malaysia, Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abdul Muttalib said that the decision will not badly affect the country as Malaysians will be asked to fill the vacancies.

According to The Star, speaking to reporters at the closing ceremony of Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) Conference and Exhibition 2016, he added that besides Myanmar, there are 14 other source countries – including Indonesia and Bangladesh – where employers could recruit from.

“Furthermore, we want to encourage more local workers to fill up any vacancies. That is why we have continuous programmes tailored to recruit local workers,” he said.

ALSO READ: 1.85 million foreign workers in Malaysia

According to Myanmar Times, a statement was released by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Population to announce the suspension of the programme to send workers to Malaysia, The Star reported, this was then confirmed by the Myanmar Employment Agen­cies Federation.

Ismail acknowledged the importance of having foreign workers especially in labour intensive sectors but asked, “why do we need so many?”

According to the Home Ministry, there are about 140,259 Myanmar nationals holding valid Temporary Employment Passes (PLKS).

Malaysians should step up to fill the spots

Speaking to The Star, Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, executive director of Malaysian Employers Federation, revealed that no official notice has been received from the Myanmar government regarding the suspension and that he first found out about it from the Myanmar Times report.

However, he said that if the purported suspension of labour supply was true, there would be no significant short-term effect provided the Myanmar workers already here are not pulled back immediately, The Star reported.

“Even so, it has to be noted that the presence of the workers already here is based on validity of their work permits. Upon expiry of their permits, they will have to be sent back.

“Foreign workers from Myanmar mostly work in the manufacturing, construction, services, plantation and agriculture industries here,” he added.

New policies need to be made, such as job rebranding and certifying skills of local employees to enable them to be more productive and later to command better salaries.
– Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan

Asked how the employers would cope if the new policy is enforced, Shamsuddin told The Star that Malaysians should step up and fill in the spots despite acknowledging that Malaysians may not be interested in the jobs the foreign workers leave behind as they would expect higher pay.

“Still they need to be encouraged to take up the vacancies. New policies need to be made, such as job rebranding and certifying skills of local employees to enable them to be more productive and later to command better salaries,” he said.

On whether Malaysia should turn to labour resources from other Asean countries, Shamsuddin said the idea of hiring more locals was to reduce Malaysia’s dependence on foreign workers, The Star reported.

Photo / 123RF

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