2.2 mil foreign workers came to Malaysia in 2017, says Khazanah

Many foreign workers were employed in the construction sector last year. (Bernama pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia welcomed around 2.2 million foreign workers last year, a majority of whom were hired in the agriculture and construction sector, according to a report published by Khazanah Research Institute.

“The State of Households 2018: Different Realities” report noted that last year, the two sectors employed 40.5% of all foreign workers, although a sizeable number of them – 35.9% – were employed in services while the remaining 23% in manufacturing.

“However, it is important to note that the official statistics exclude workers in communal housing, therefore possibly undercounting the number of foreign workers in agriculture,” it said.

The report was officially launched by Khazanah Nasional Bhd managing director Shahril Ridza Ridzuan today.

According to the study, the Malaysian labour force was about 10.6 million strong in 2010 but grew to 12.7 million in 2017. The foreign labour force stood at about 1.7 million in 2010.

The report highlighted that from 2010 to 2017, the number of Malaysians in the labour force with tertiary education increased the most by about 1.3 million while those with secondary education increased by 1.2 million.

There was a decrease of about 438,000 Malaysians with primary education in the labour force over the same period.

Providing data for 2015, the report said that Indonesians remained the dominant group of foreign workers at 39.2%, followed by Nepalese (23.5%) and Bangladeshis (13.2%).