Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi should delay the negotiations to bring in 1.5 million workers from Bangladesh, said Klang MP Charles Santiago.
This is because Ahmad Zahid, who is also home minister, should focus on reviewing the labour market for locals first before doing anything else, Charles said in a statement today.
“Foreign workers are already dominating the local labour market, denying Malaysians of jobs and suppressing wages,” he explained.
He was agreeing with Tampin Umno division chief Shaziman Mansor, who had urged the government to hire more locals into key sectors of the economy in his speech at the Tampin Umno division meeting yesterday.
“If all industries are opened to foreigners, then where are we to go?” he was reported as saying.
Ahmad Zahid (photo) had then replied to Shaziman, vowing that he would not let foreigners outnumber citizens in Malaysia.
However, Charles said the deputy prime minister has gotten his math wrong, pointing out data that shows there are about 8.3 million foreign workers, both documented and undocumented, in the country.
This number is just 3.7 million behind the 12 million Malaysians in the work force, he said, making Ahmad Zahid’s vow towards Shaziman nonsensical.
“Shaziman’s comment is telling given that is the first time an Umno leader is publicly raising this issue with the home minister (Ahmad Zahid),” Charles said.
He then urged the Home Ministry to conduct a labour market needs assessment study, taking into account skill needs, requirement and gaps, as well as including a projection of employment by industry and sector for the next years.
“Until this is done, all negotiations between the government and Dhaka must be stalled,” he said.