The Malaysian Trades Union Congress said today it opposes strongly the proposed mass recruitment of 45,000 foreign workers because it would edge out locals from the labour market.
MTUC vice-president A. Balasubramaniam said that such a big influx of foreigners could have a profound effect on the wages of Malaysians and jeopardise the government’s high-income policy for them.
He noted that the government was in the midst of introducing a minimum wages policy, and said that any mass recruitment of foreigners should be postponed until a wages council had been set up.
He was commenting on a recent statement by Human Resources Minister Datuk S. Subramaniam that the government was set to recruit 45,000 foreign workers, mostly from India, for 13 sectors, including the restaurant business and textile industry.
Balasubramaniam said the Human Resources Ministry should conduct a comprehensive survey to determine the exact number of workers needed for each sector.
At present there was no proper mechanism to determine the number of vacancies in the various sectors and “it is all just estimation,” he added.
Balasubramaniam said the government should get inputs from worker organisations before approving permits for foreign workers.
It would be ideal if the MTUC were to be represented on the committee on the recruitment of foreign workers, he said.