Malaysia to reduce overseas workers
Malaysia plans to reduce its reliance on foreign workers by phasing out labour-intensive industries and monitoring investments closely.
- Published: 5/03/2013 at 11:09 PM
- Newspaper section: news
The government wants a “manageable” number of overseas workers, Mustapa Mohamed, Malaysia’s trade and industry minister, told reporters in Singapore on Tuesday.
“We are moving up the value chain,” Mustapa said. “Malaysia is not a place for purely labour-intensive industries,” he said, adding that while the nation will continue to need foreign workers in plantations, restaurants and as domestic helpers, it will be “more selective” in evaluating investment proposals from companies.
Malaysia joins neighbouring Singapore in planning to reduce its reliance on overseas workers to appease voters. Singapore tightened curbs on foreign labour for a fourth straight year in its budget last month amid public discontent over infrastructure strains and record-high housing and transport costs after the population jumped by more than 1.1 million since mid-2004.
Malaysia has about 3 million foreign workers, of whom almost half are illegal, Mustapa said. The opposition has proposed reducing the number of overseas labourers to 1 million, he said.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak must dissolve parliament by April 28 and hold elections within 60 days. The ruling National Front will do “a bit better” in elections this year than in 2008, Mustapa said.
About the author
- Writer: Bloomberg News
- Position: News agency