Putrajaya mulls raising salary threshold for expats

Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran speaks to reporters during a visit to TalentCorp’s office in Kota Damansara January 23, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Human Resources Minister M. Kulasegaran speaks to reporters during a visit to TalentCorp’s office in Kota Damansara January 23, 2019. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

PETALING JAYA, Jan 23 — The Human Resources Ministry is considering setting up a committee to increase the salary threshold for foreign skilled labour to beyond RM5,000 so that Malaysians can fill jobs below that salary scale.

Its minister M. Kulasegaran said he felt the current threshold of between RM3,000 and RM5,000 should be reviewed so that dependency on foreign skilled labour is reduced.

“For jobs between RM3,000 to RM5,000, these can easily be filled up by Malaysians. Yet there are some employers who still feel jobs in this category range are specialised in nature,” he said during a visit to TalentCorp Malaysia’s office.

Kulasegaran said the idea was to discourage expatriates from coming to Malaysia and competing with locals for jobs in this category.

“However it appears that the number of expats working in RM3,000 to RM5,000 jobs declined last year.

The Human Resources Ministry is considering setting up a committee to increase the salary threshold for foreign skilled labour up to RM5,000 so that Malaysians can fill jobs below that salary scale.

Kulasegaran added the committee will likely take into account the views and concerns of key stakeholders, including commerce chambers, industry players, and companies.

Similarly, on encouraging Malaysians based abroad to return home to work, he said there has been an increase of applications to TalentCorp last year by as much as 20 per cent.

“Considering there are nearly one million Malaysians working overseas, this is a considerable number.

“One thing the government has requested of its ministers is for them to mingle with our students or expats there. And TalentCorp is facilitating the process,” Kulasegaran said.

He explained that many Malaysians are attracted to jobs abroad for several reasons, including the allure of working for a multinational company and the impression one can earn substantial money.

“According to a World Bank report in 2015, many of the Malaysians working abroad are highly talented and earn considerable salaries, and many of them also maintain an interest in their county of birth despite being abroad for a number of years,” Kulasegaran said.

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