KUALA LUMPUR: The government is set to lift the freeze on the intake of foreign workers for the textile, goldsmith and barber shop sectors, although partially.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said Putrajaya will not lift the ban, which had been in place since 2009, totally for now.
“Since there is an urgent need (for workers in these subsectors), we will approve (recruitment), but not in its entirety,” Anwar said at an event in Brickfields here today.
“(Human resources) minister (V Sivakumar) will bring the matter to the Cabinet when it meets on Friday so we can approve a portion (of the applications).”
In March, the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) said the three sectors have not had sufficient foreign labour because of the 2009 freeze.
It said the present foreign workers have been on temporary employment passes which are renewed on a yearly basis. However, those passes will be terminated in stages.
Anwar also said he hopes the ministry will provide training or incentives to ensure the country’s Indian youths are trained and employed.
“Each time I meet an Indian leader, they would bring up these three sectors, so I said okay, I will grant the approval for now.
“But let’s also add training and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for our Indian youths.”
Sivakumar confirmed later that a memorandum on unfreezing the three sectors will be presented to the Cabinet on Friday.
He also said he previously held discussions with home minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and the late cost of living and domestic trade minister, Salahuddin Ayub, about reopening the three sectors.
“In principle, both ministers had agreed to reopen these three sectors,” he said.
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