Lim urged Saravanan to streamline the application process and remove barriers that he said had previously made it difficult to hire migrant workers. — Photo by Firdaus Latif
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
Wednesday, August 17, 2022 3:26 PM MYT
KUALA LUMPUR, August 17 – Former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today said the Human Resources Ministry’s call to lift the two-week ban on hiring migrant workers was a welcome move that would save the recruitment process “from the edge of chaos”.
But Lim said his minister, Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, would still need to streamline the application process and remove obstacles he said had previously made hiring difficult, as he suggested the political U-turn had indirectly corroborated claims that the temporary hiring freeze was a bad idea.
“This Saravanan U-turn confirms that the two-week temporary suspension or freeze would hamper efforts by all industries to overcome the shortage of 1.2 million workers and inflict losses of RM33.5 billion on the sector alone. plantations, gloves and auto parts,” Lim said in a statement.
“Saravanan should also consider how to help and not hurt businesses, by improving the current application procedures and conditions for hiring foreign workers to make them more transparent, decentralized through the One Stop Center approach and efficient.”
It comes as key industries, now facing severe labor shortages, said the temporary ban would have cost them billions of ringgits in losses.
Saravanan announced yesterday that the temporary freeze on applications to hire foreign workers will be lifted from this Friday after industries put pressure on it.
Among them was the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers, which said the two-week suspension would disrupt economic recovery by derailing the industry’s workforce planning.
The Malaysian Association of Muslim Restaurant Owners (Presma), recently said that up to 1,500 Indo-Muslim restaurants, commonly referred to as mamak restaurants across the country, face imminent closure due to lack of foreign workers and the difficulty in finding local workers.
Presma claimed that the lack of foreign workers has already led to the closure of 3,000 restaurateurs out of 12,000 registered association members since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic more than two years ago.
The mamak restaurant industry needs at least 30,000 additional workers to fill vacancies across the country.