No need for foreigners at wholesale markets, says minister

Foreigners have dominated business at Selayang wholesale market in Kuala Lumpur.

PETALING JAYA: Federal Territories Minister Annuar Musa said he wants to see an end to foreigners working in wholesale markets after he received news today that more than 1,000 Malaysians are working at Selayang wholesale market.

Surrounding areas of the market have been locked down since April 20, though the market was reopened on April 24 after being sanitised and disinfected.

“We told the business owners to hire locals when they reopened, and today I was told that there are more than 1,000 locals working there,” he said in a video clip posted online.

“This is clear proof that there are locals who want to work in such jobs, so why did we hire foreign workers before this?

“When we hire locals, of course we need to pay them a suitable wage, a minimum wage. But if our businesses are doing well, why can’t we pay more to hire local workers?

“We get foreign workers but some are dirty, don’t have valid documents and are not Malaysians. For me, that’s wrong.

“I don’t want to see wholesale markets anywhere, including Selayang, becoming a ‘Little Myanmar’ or ‘Little Arakan’ or things like that. Selayang has to remain Selayang,” he added.

Annuar previously estimated that there were between 8,000 and 10,000 foreigners living in the area surrounding the Selayang market, the largest market of its kind in the capital.

Foreign workers – some of whom are undocumented – have long operated businesses at the market.

Stating that his ministry has started to recruit some of the city’s homeless population to work at the market, Annuar also called on business owners to share their profits with the country’s citizens by offering them jobs instead of hiring foreign workers.

Noting that some business owners may feel threatened by his comments as it would affect their bottom line, Annuar said he had to voice his concerns as he was the minister tasked with managing the federal territories.

“I know it’s hard and I know some business owners may not like what I’m saying here, but I’m sure we don’t want to see Chow Kit full of foreigners, Selayang full of foreigners,” he said.

“I’ve heard that Little India, Little China and businesses in the Petaling street area have been taken over by foreigners.

“Maybe we hire foreign workers because it’s cheaper to hire them, but look at what we get. Their lifestyle, their dirty surroundings… In the end, we don’t feel safe,” he said.

Fake or not? Check our quick fake news buster here.