Foreign workers are a must, says builders association


(Free Malaysia Today) – Foreign workers are a must for the construction industry, says Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM).

However, it should not be limited only to one nationality as having too many migrant workers originating from one country could lead to certain foreseeable problems, said MBAM’s vice-president AK Nathan.

“While we welcome the call by the Home Minister (Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) for employers to prioritise local workers, the reality is that most locals tend to stay away from sectors such as construction.

“That makes foreign workers a must for such industries. But to focus merely on Bangladeshi workers … that would be unwise.

“When there’re too many from the same country, we will face all sorts of social issues,” Nathan told FMT.

He was commenting on Zahid’s announcement today that the recruitment of all foreign workers, including those from Bangladesh, would be suspended temporarily.

Zahid, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, was quoted as saying that employers should look instead at taking on local workers.

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) Executive Director Shamsuddin Bardan said employers have all along employed this policy by advertising any available positions for several months before resorting to foreign workers.

“The local youth are choosy, especially during ‘easy’ times. But now that the economy is on a downturn, let’s see if the scenario changes.”

He added that while there were some signs of relief following Human Resources Minister Richard Riot Jaem’s clarification this morning that the 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers were not meant solely for Malaysia but were shared by 139 countries – the government should avoid bringing any more foreign workers into the country.