Date: Mon, 5 Jan 1998 18:09:10 +0800
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
From: Lynn August Linse <linsela@ROBUSTDC.COM>
Subject: FWD: MY: Foreign workers will bear brunt of job losses
To: Multiple recipients of list SEASIA-L <SEASIA-L@msu.edu>
Foreign workers will bear brunt of job losses
From Singapore Press
2 January 1998
KUALA LUMPUR -- The Malaysian government has
to come up with strict measures to protect the interests of local
workers as an estimated one million jobs are expected to be lost
The Star yesterday quoted Deputy Home Minister Datuk Mohd Tajol
Rosli Ghazali as saying foreign workers would have to bear the
"costs" of the economic downturn.
"This loss means that foreign workers must give up their jobs to
the locals," he said after launching the Immigration Department's
1998 Work Programme here on Friday.
He said the ministry had frozen work-permit applications and
renewal in certain service sectors excluding domestic maids.
Foreign workers would be redeployed to the plantation and
export-oriented sectors as it would be more cost-effective than
getting new ones from abroad, he said.
"Any foreign worker who has worked here for three years and has
no criminal record may be redeployed to other sectors," said
Datuk Tajol Rosli.
He said that the presence of almost two million foreign workers
was caused by employers who only wanted to offer low salaries as
well as local workers who were too choosy.
"Back then, Malaysian workers only wanted highly-paid jobs but
with the economic downturn this may not be possible," he said.
He said during times like this, the government could not afford
to be generous to others.
He said that employers would have to pay the costs of deporting
Only 1.2 million of the foreign workers are registered with the
Immigration Department. Most of the illegal workers are
Indonesians, officials have said.
About 9,000 Indonesian illegal immigrants were repatriated last
year with the cooperation of the Indonesian authorities.
Datuk Tajol Rosli also said that the authorities would no longer
carry out checks on foreigners on the streets but would instead
concentrate on raids on factories and estates.
"This is because no employer will take responsibility for illegal
workers caught on the streets," he said.
During the last decade of uninterrupted economic growth, Malaysia
came to depend heavily on foreign workers to perform many of the
low-paid jobs shunned by locals.
But Malaysia stopped recruiting all foreign workers last August,
and with companies retrenching, locals are expected to begin
competing with the foreigners for jobs in sectors such as hotels
and heavy industry.
Copyright 1997 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. All rights reserved.
Lynn August Linse, firstname.lastname@example.org
Robust DataComm Pte Ltd, 221 Henderson Road #04-10
Singapore 159557, Ph(65)272-2340 Fx(65)272-0582