Better low wage than no wage, Dr M reminds choosy Malaysians

Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysians should take up the dirty, dangerous and difficult (3D) jobs, rather than remain jobless, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

While admitting that the pay was low, he said without work, one would not have an income.

“Yes the pay is low, but if you don’t work, you won’t have any income. Choose to work. Then you will have income,” he told reporters after the launch of the Labour Day celebration at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) today.

Mahathir said if Malaysians chose not to work, foreign workers would take their place, and there would be an outflow of money.

“We will then become poor. People with no jobs will have no salary. You must remember. We work for the country. To help it develop. If we do not want to work, the money goes elsewhere,” he said.

Earlier in his Labour Day speech, Mahathir said the government was aware of the rakyat’s concerns on the influx of foreign workers in the country.

Mahathir said the government had taken various actions to ensure foreign workers were only employed in sectors which were not well received by locals, such as 3D.

“I wish to stress that the government’s policy is very clear, that priority for jobs in the country should be for Malaysians.

“But I also need to state that the presence of migrant workers in the country is a result of our attitude in not wanting to perform certain jobs even when we are capable of doing so.

“Hence, the jobs are then taken up by foreign workers. In the end, they become rich, and we remain where we are, or become poorer,” he said.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said the government was targeting one million workers to be unionised come next year.

“To ensure workers know their rights, the government, through the human resources ministry, is in the process of amending several labour laws, including the Trade Unions Act 1959, Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994, Industrial Relations Act 1967 and the Employment Act,” he added.