MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Thursday, September 30, 2021

Not true hiring migrant workers cheaper than locals - MEF

The cost for an employer to hire a migrant worker is higher than a local Malaysian hired in the same position, according to the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman (above) said this is contrary to perception by the public and by the government that employers want to cut costs by favouring migrant workers over Malaysian hires.

"Everybody thinks it's cheaper for us to bring foreign workers.

"Do not ever think it is cheap for us to hire foreign workers because it is not," he said.

He was speaking in a virtual discussion earlier today with association leaders from the retail industry and others looking to fill vacancies in their businesses.

Migrants three times more expensive

Unlike local workers, Syed Hussain said additional costs to hire foreign workers include having to pay levies that range in amount depending on sectors as well as having to provide accommodation and social protection.

While costs differ across sectors, he estimated a cost ratio of one to three between hiring a local worker and a migrant worker.

"For every RM1 to hire a local, it would be RM3 to hire a migrant worker," he said.

As a member of the National Employment Council, Syed Hussain said he raised the issue of manpower shortage to the government.

He said he told the government that vacancies will not be filled by Malaysian unemployed graduates due to their "dirty, dangerous, and difficult" nature.

Representing contract cleaning companies, Malaysia Association of Cleaning Contractors president Noruddin Idris said his members are similarly facing difficulties training locals willing to be hired as cleaners.

“It is not that we don’t want to hire locals, the locals do not want to take us as employers.

“Our employment pool does not consist of unemployed graduates,” said Noruddin.

Most local hires have quit

Meanwhile, Federation of Malaysian Business Associations president Abdul Malik Abdullah urged the government to consider extending a 25 percent discount on foreign workers levy.

He said the levy reduction was announced last year to assist employers but it did not continue until this year, despite the fact that businesses are facing more financial pressure currently due to the prolonged shutdown.

“We would like to request a 25 percent levy reduction for this year as well as next year,” said Malik.

Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA) chief executive officer Nageeb Wahab reiterated the sector’s demand for migrant workers, mostly from Indonesia, to harvest palm oil.

While many parts of the production have been automated, Nageeb said the first stage of bringing down the fruit bunch remains a manual process, carried out by some 84 percent migrant workers employed in local plantations.

“Last year, five companies managed to recruit 2,400 locals, but out of that, 60 percent had left and from the remaining 40 percent, only 15 percent are still working today,” said Nageeb.

He added this was despite the current salary offer of between RM2,500 and RM3,000, with housing facilities, utilities and others. - Mkini

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