KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 (Bernama) — The government’s decision to suspend the intake of foreign workers from all source countries will not affect the construction industry including the Mass Rapid Transport Network and new highways, said Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof.
He said although these projects required huge manpower, the number of workers in the market currently could meet needs.
“Yes, there is a shortage of general labourers now but we have to focus on what we already have in the country.
“First we use workers who have already registered and second, the Rehiring Programme for illegal foreign workers,” he said.
He said this at a press conference on Gagasan’s 6th Annual General Conference at the International Young Center (IYC) here today.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had announced the freeze on the intake of foreign workers in Kota Samarahan in Sarawak yesterday.
Ahmad Zahid in making the announcement said the government had put on hold the recruitment of workers from all source countries until it ascertains the actual manpower needs of industries.
Elaborating further, Fadillah said if industry players claimed they were facing a shortage of labourers, they must furnish proof.
“Some big contractors say they are facing a shortage of labourers…but we have to verify this by appointing an independent body, so far we have not been able to come up with the number (of foreign workers needed),” he said.
He stressed that hiring of foreign workers should be limited to labourers while for sectors needing skilled workers, priority should be given to locals unless there is a shortage.
On Gagasan, an education movement of which he is the president, Fadillah said it would work with the Defence and Home ministries to counter the Daesh threat in schools