Malaysia halts recruitment of all foreign workers

(From Strait Times)

The Malaysian government has decided to suspend the recruitment of all foreign workers to Malaysia, including those from Bangladesh, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said on Friday (Feb 19).

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi

The freeze would be enforced with immediate effect and will stay in force while the government reviews the two-tier levy programme for foreign workers, The Star Online quoted Datuk Seri Zahid as saying.

Effective Feb.1, Malaysia had implemented a new system of charging levies on foreign workers based on two different categories of sectors workers are employed in.

“We urge all employers to recruit local workers,” Zahid said, adding that existing illegal workers in Malaysia would be detained and deported.

Zahid, who is also the home minister, said it was hoped that Malaysians, especially youths, would respond to the government’s call for locals to take up the jobs now held by foreigners and become the mainstay of the nation’s workforce to drive national economic growth.

The communications and multimedia minister Salleh Said Keruak said Malaysians should make full use of Putrajaya’s decision to suspend its planned recruitment of foreign workers, the Malay Mail Online repoted.

“This is a good development,” Salleh told reporters after signing a bilateral communications sharing MoU with Singapore.

“So with this, Malaysians should use this opportunity to grab up available jobs provided by this decision,” he added.

Earlier in the day, a separate press conference was held by Human Resources Minister Richard Riot on the entry of Bangladeshi workers under the signed MOU.

 “I want to correct the misconception that Malaysia would take in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers. This is not correct, it is not true,” said Richard.
He said the figure related to the total number of Bangladeshis registered to seek employment abroad.

Decision questioned

Putrajaya’s unexpected decision to suspend the recruitment of foreign workers could pose problems for firms that have already obtained approvals for such hires, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) said.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said companies that are in the middle of the recruitment process would stand to lose out if the freeze meant that their new recruits would have to be sent back.

“The freeze needs to be clearly stated on whether it is meant for future hires or for firms that are already in the midst of the recruitment process.

“If it affects the current process, then it is going to cause a problem. This is my worry because the repercussion can be bad for companies who rely heavily on foreign workers… like the 3D industries (dangerous, dirty and difficult),” he told Malay Mail Online.

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