Cap the number of foreign workers, says MTUC

An employer renews work permits of her foreign workers. The presence of migrant workers has made it more difficult for locals to obtain jobs. ― Malay Mail pic
An employer renews work permits of her foreign workers. The presence of migrant workers has made it more difficult for locals to obtain jobs. ― Malay Mail pic

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PETALING JAYA, Feb 16 — The government should not allow too many foreign workers into industries considered  dirty, dangerous and difficult (3D) as this may eventually deprive locals of such jobs, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general N. Gopal Kishnam said yesterday.

He said this was why the government should tighten rules on migrant workers.

“The presence of migrant workers has made it more difficult for locals to obtain jobs in 3D industries even if they wanted to,” he added.

He said migrant workers had led to a negative image for 3D industries leading to it to not receiving the same recognition as other industries.

“Many people look down on people holding jobs like road sweepers, waitresses or even cashiers but at the end of the day, it is still a job which pays,” he said.

He said one of the reasons many youths refused to work in these industries was because of the low wages offered.

“If employers offer better salaries, there is a chance 3D industry will attract more people," he added.

He said most migrant workers were willing to work for much lower wages which locals were not prepared to accept.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan said the social stigma attached to 3D industries was another reason why youths were running away from this sector.

“People think that these jobs are menial because foreign workers who are paid low salaries  do them," he said.

He said locals could be persuaded to take up these jobs if employers improved work conditions by introducing mechanisation.

“Instead of using traditional methods to clean specific areas, machines can be used. At the end of the day, it boils down to how serious we are in wanting a change for the younger generation in jobs considered 3D,” he added.

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