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Malaysia to lay off 15,000 foreign employees every month

Source: PTI
March 05, 2009 19:18 IST
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In a bid to protect domestic workers from retrenchment following global financial crisis, Malaysian government has planned to recruit 15,000 locals every month by replacing foreigners, including Indian, working in various sectors in the country.

The government has said that it is to identify a few sectors where its citizens could work replacing foreigners.

The Human Resources Ministry is looking at turning over to locals 15,000 jobs a month currently held by foreign workers, local media said on Thursday.

At least 15 sectors could be identified, one of them being service industry, Star paper said.

Malaysia relies on the services of foreign professionals for its constructions industry, plantations, restaurants, security and housekeeping. Most of them are sourced from India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.

The ministry would identify jobs suitable for locals to take over from foreign workers, Human Resources Minister S Subramaniam said.

"The aim is to ensure that priority for these jobs is given to locals who have been retrenched," Subramaniam said, adding that both employers and employees must have a change of mindset.

"We will be carrying out programmes to explain to employees that they have to accept some jobs and stay there for a reasonable amount of time if they want career progress."

Subramaniam had previously said that 200,000 foreign workers were sent home.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Immigration Department has said that the government was willing to give employers a massive reduction in fines to send back foreign workers who had overstayed, or those whose work permits had expired. The fines can be reduced by as much as 70 per cent, Immigration Department director-general Mahmood Adam was quoted as saying.

Instead of having to pay between $537 and 805 as fines, employers would only have to pay the nominal compound of $80 and additional 28 dollars for a special (exit) pass to repatriate a foreign worker who had overstayed.

"Sometimes, employers overlooked the work permit deadlines; or, the foreign workers were unsuitable for the work, not capable or often falling ill," said Mahmood.

Mahmood asked employers to take up the offer in line with the government's policy to cut down on illegal immigrants.

Subramaniam said recently that companies in dire straits owing to the economic crunch could apply to the human resources ministry to let the foreign workers go even if their service contracts had not expired.

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