PETALING JAYA: The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has called on the government to reconsider its decision to impose a blanket freeze on all new foreign worker approvals, announced today.
The group’s president, Soh Thian Lai, stated that approvals should be granted to companies that can provide strong justifications for requiring foreign workers and have no pending quota approvals.
Earlier today, home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail was reported as saying that the government had no plans to allow the entry of new foreign workers since nearly 1.8 million permits have already been approved.
According to The Star, the home ministry has registered 680,000 foreign workers through the foreign worker recalibration programme thus far.
In contrast, the human resources ministry has approved a quota for 1.13 million workers.
Soh highlighted that the industry is grappling with weakened global trade due to various factors, such as increased price pressures and tighter financial conditions, which have impacted production.
Consequently, he said some industries with approved foreign worker quotas have had to revise their strategies for intake.
Some have opted to bring in workers in stages to accommodate the changing production needs, which have significantly declined compared to when they applied for the workers.
“Some industries have also postponed bringing in workers, which is very much dependent on how quickly economic conditions improve.
“The industries are not deliberately delaying because they have already locked in their levy payments,” he said in a statement.
Soh also said Malaysia’s ongoing ability to attract new foreign direct investments, some of which would require a certain level of low-skilled workers, would be jeopardised if the freeze on approvals is extended.
Regarding the matter of stranded migrant workers without job placements, Soh said FMM had repeatedly reminded the government not to allow outsourcing agents for recruitment.
“It is high time the government took this seriously and tightened the approval process. This would allow only the employer to bring in foreign workers – not any other people,” he added.