PETALING JAYA: Twelve business groups in the services sector have urged the government to relax the rules on the hiring of migrant workers by opening it for all sectors, instead of just five “critical” industries.
In an open letter to home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and human resources minister V Sivakumar, the groups said every business sector was suffering from “severe” labour shortage.
While they welcomed the relaxed conditions to hire foreign labour, with applications set to be approved within three working days, they said limiting this to only five sectors was not practical.
“The services industry appears to be inadvertently overlooked although we are in the same predicament, suffering from a shortage of workers.
“With the opening up of borders and the expected surge in tourist arrivals, the services industry is at the forefront to meet this growth in demand from the tourism industry,” they said.
The groups added that this comprised the hotel, retail, entertainment as well as health, spa and wellness sectors.
“It is of utmost urgency that these sectors be allowed to apply for foreign workers (with relaxed conditions) without further delay. Otherwise, the country may miss the opportunity to take advantage of this opening up of borders.”
Previously, Sivakumar had said the government’s relaxation of conditions for the hiring of migrant workers will be limited to five “critical” industries.
The five sectors are manufacturing, construction, plantations, agriculture, and food and beverage.
The 12 business groups said there was a need of at least one million workers to fill vacancies in various services sectors, adding that Putrajaya must acknowledge this.
The letter was jointly signed by the Federation of Malaysia Business Associations (FMBA), Malaysia Shopping Malls Association (PPK), Bumiputera Retailers Organisation (BRO), Malaysian Association of Theme Parks & Family Attractions (Matfa), Malaysian Association of Wellness & Spa (Mawspa), Association of Malaysian Spas (Amspa), Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Malaysia Retail Chains Association (MRCA), Malaysian Association of Hotel Owners (Maho), Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH), Malaysia Budget and Business Hotel Association (MyBHA) and Industries Unite (IU).