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Malaysia lifts ban on hiring foreign workers
The Malaysian government has decided to lift the ban on hiring foreign workers for four sectors, said its Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
The decision was taken in light of appeals from the manufacturing, construction, plantation and furniture-making industries, which are facing a serious shortage of workers, reports The Star Online, a Malaysian web portal.
“In view of the acute shortage, we have to lift the suspension to allow these sectors to bring in foreign workers,” said Liow.
He, however, said the Cabinet was already looking for improving the system for hiring foreign workers, after which they would gradually lift the hiring freeze for other sectors, too.
“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.
On February 18, Bangladesh Expatriates’ Welfare Minister Nurul Islam and Malaysian Human Resources Minister Richard Riot signed a memorandum of understanding on recruiting 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers through G2G Plus mechanism over the next three years.
In February last, the Malaysian government decided to suspend the recruitment of all foreign workers for Malaysia, including those from Bangladesh, while the government reviewed the two-tier levy programme for foreign workers.
The Star reported recently that a survey by the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers showed that 84 percent of manufacturers were facing a labour shortage, with half of them claiming that they had not been able to fulfill existing orders.
The survey showed 146 companies required 13,270 new workers this year to meet their business needs and replace unfit or returning workers.
Late last month, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said that a decision on the freeze on foreign labour would be announced soon.