Regional Outlook, Global Perspective


New Straits Times-Oct 10

The Labour Department (JKT) and the Malaysian Association of Foreign Maid Agencies (PAPA) are working together to promote job opportunities, especially for rural young adults.

Director of Labour Mohd Asri Abdul Wahab said it was high time to stop relying on neighbouring countries to provide workers because as their countries advance, they will retain their own citizens.

“Countries like Vietnam are booming and in the near future they will prevent their people from seeking job opportunities here. Besides that, it’s almost impossible for us to compete with wages offered by Singapore and the Middle East,” he said at the Local Manpower Recruitment and Placement dialogue session at the Royal Selangor Club, Bukit Kiara, today.

Mohd Asri commented that when China opens its doors to foreign workers next year, Malaysia would see a decrease in quality foreign workers entering the country, and will be left with those over the age of 40.

Also present at the event was PAPA president, Datuk Foo Yong Hooi, AP Tele Temps Asia Pacific Sdn Bhd director Hirithara Gopal, and almost 100 employment agency directors.

According to records from the Labor Department, the approval rate for job applications submitted by foreigners stood at only between 25 and 30 per cent, clearly indicating that the Human Resource Ministry has given the highest priority to local workers over foreigners.

“This time we are going all out to make sure that employers have done everything in their capacity to recruit local workers. In the very near future we will be supporting PAPA and other such organizations, in running job fairs, conducting mobile job hunts across the country, and providing specific slots in the Urban Transformation Centre (UTC) to conduct open interviews,” he said.

The current unemployment rate was 3.5 per cent of the 15 million work force; amounting to 525,000 unemployed people.

Meanwhile Foo said currently Malaysia still needed the help of foreign workers in order to sustain its economy growth.

“There are ample job opportunities in the city. Unfortunately, many of the young adults in rural villages idle away their time instead of venturing out of their comfort zone. We have enough manpower but many of these school leavers are picky when it comes to jobs,” he said.

“There is also a lack of focus on vocational training in our education system. Hence, we still rely on foreign workers to fill semi-skilled and vocational jobs. This has to change. There should be more skills training so that these youngsters are confident to relocate to the city to fill blue collar positions.

“While we focus on identifying and honing local talent, we must acknowledge the fact that there is still a need for foreign labour in our nation for the next 10 to 15 years or even longer.”’


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