BANGKOK, Oct 25 — Foreign labourers are drawn to Malaysia due to its abundance of manual work that locals refuse to perform, said Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Speaking to the Malaysian and Thai business community here, the Langkawi MP said this reliance on foreign labour has economic consequences to the country such as the outflow of funds.
“On the other hand, the reason why foreigners like to come to Malaysia is because Malaysians don’t like to work. That’s very simple.
“Today the Bangladeshis are coming. Why? Because Malaysians don’t want to work. They want to have an easy life. They want to work in air-conditioned places and all that, and the hard work is carried out by foreigners,” he said adding that currently there are about 7 million immigrants in Malaysia.
“This can cause us problems. The first thing that happens is that they all remit the money back home, and there is an outflow of funds all the time out of the country, and we hope to have foreign direct investments too, to cause the inflow of currency, and we need the FDI badly because we have a lot of unemployment in Malaysia. Many graduates from universities are also unemployed,” he said.
During the meeting, Dr Mahathir called on Malaysians to continue contributing to the government to help lower the debtpile and to help expedite the government's development plans for the country.
“At the moment, of course we have managed to run the government. We have 1.6 million civil servants. We have to find the money to pay them. At the same time, we have to pay our debts. So running the country at the moment is very difficult.
“But so far we have managed. By the end of the year, we have to find several billions of ringgit to pay debts, but I believe we can do that,” he added.
Dr Mahathir also called on the Malaysia-Thai Chamber of Commerce to promote bilateral trades between the two nations, to help the countries economies to grow.
The prime minister kicked off his two-day official visit here yesterday and is scheduled to head home later today.