BNM deputy governor Dr Sukhdave Singh said the over reliance on foreign labour is affecting the lower income groups. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
KUALA LUMPUR, March 24 — Malaysians from the lower income category are the worst affected due to the country’s reliance on foreign labour, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) deputy governor Dr Sukhdave Singh said today.
He added that long terms measures needed to be taken to reduce the reliance on foreign workers.
“This over reliance on foreign labour is affecting the lower income groups,” Sukhdave said in his keynote address to the Malaysian Economic Association here.
“If we have a foreign worker and a local worker on the same job, they get paid the same salary,” he said.
“But the foreign worker goes to live in quarters where he stays with 10 other people, while the local has to go back and care for the family. The cost of living is very different,” he added.
Malaysia has close to 3 million legal foreign workers, almost 10 per cent of the country’s total population.
Malaysia recently raised its minimum wage to RM 1,000 a month in the Peninsula and RM 920 in Sabah and Sarawak in an effort to reduce dependency on foreign workers.
About 11 million Malaysians live with a household income below RM 3,000 a month, and banded as the bottom 40 per cent.
Fresh graduates are among 400,000 Malaysians who are currently unemployed, the government said last year.