Lift hiring freeze, Malaysian govt urged

RAWANG: If the freeze on hiring foreign workers is not lifted soon, many factories will be forced to close, said the managing director of a manufacturing plant.

Datuk Syed Mohammed Izhaar Mohammed Sebirm, who represents manufacturers in Rawang, said many employers had started complaining that they did not have enough workers to continue with their production.

He said 1.3 million workers had returned to their home countries under the 6P legalisation programme which started in 2011.

"Now we are unsure when the next batch of workers will be coming in.

"If the Government does not reverse the decision, many of the factories will be forced to stop operations," said Syed Mohammed Izhaar here, yesterday.

Last Friday, the Government suspended the recruitment of all ­foreign workers pending a review of the levy and rehiring programme.

The move came just a day after Malaysia inked a deal with Bangla­desh to bring in its workers here over the next three years.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the suspension would allow the Govern­ment to reconsider the revised two-tier levy on foreign workers.

Syed Mohammed Izhar, who ­represents 60 companies in Rawang, said many local workers were not interested to work in the manufacturing sector, including in the textile industry, due to the long hours and low wages.

"Although we hire 100 per cent local workers at the management level, we still need the expertise of foreign workers to handle heavy ­machinery in the textile plants and other factories," he said.

Qube Medical general manager Teo Yoek Leong said that after training the foreign workers for a long period of time, some of them chose to go back to their home countries.

"It takes about three years to train them, but after they leave, we have to start training the new ­workers all over again.

"Without a guarantee from the Government on the supply of ­foreign workers, we will be facing a shortage of well-trained workers in our factories," he said.

He said the new intake of foreign workers would not affect Malaysian workers as most jobs available were categorised as dangerous, dirty and difficult (3D).

Karisma System general manager Azhar Arshad, who represents the service industry, said the Govern­ment should have engaged industry representatives before making such a drastic decision.

"We appeal to the Government to reconsider as it is affecting our livelihood. They have to meet us as we are in dire need of workers," he said.