Foreign workers now 14% of total national workforce

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is just one percent away from reaching Putrajaya’s foreign worker limit of 15% out of the total national workforce.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Ismail Abdul Muttalib said the current percentage of documented foreign workers stands at 14% (about two million) out of the 14 million workforce in the country.

“We hope more employers will hire locals to work so that it will not exceed the present cap,” he told a press conference after the ministry’s Hari Raya event today.

Ismail said the majority of these foreigners are hired to do 3D (dirty, dangerous, demanding) jobs in plantation, manufacturing, construction, security and the services sectors.

According to him, some 100,000 foreign skilled workers in the country were supposed to transfer their skills to locals, in line with achieving the target of having 35% skilled local workers by the year 2020.

At present, the number of skilled local workers stands at about 28%.

“We will continue to provide skills training and financial assistance to achieve the target,” he said.

He hoped that Malaysians would come forward to fill jobs taken up by foreigners.

“Even though the rate of unemployment is relatively low at 3.1% (400,000), it shows that there are still many jobless people,” he said.

Previous reports have stated that there were an estimated two million foreign workers in Malaysia, with an almost equal number of illegal foreigners working in various sectors in the country.