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600,000 migrant workers needed next year, says FMM

FMM In The News: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, KUALA LUMPUR, Saturday, December 4, 2021 - The manufacturing sector needs about 600,000 migrant workers to help production return to pre-pandemic levels next year, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) said.

FMM president Soh Thian Lai said there are some new investments that would still require a level of low-skilled manpower for certain processes within their operations.

“Employers in manufacturing continue to face difficulties in sourcing for locals to fill the shortages in the unskilled workers category arising from the current freeze in new recruitment of foreign workers.

“The industries have no choice but to rely on foreign workers as locals are not keen on certain jobs and industries, especially in the 3D (dangerous, dirty, difficult) sectors. This short-term measure is critical to the revival of businesses and the economy,” he said in a statement.

Soh said the industry is, however, cognisant of the fact that in the long term, concerted efforts have to be taken to reduce the dependence on foreign workers.

The sector contributes a significant 23% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

For the fourth quarter last year, the manufacturing sector was the only economic sector with a positive growth of 3%, and this performance continued in the first quarter of this year with stronger growth where manufacturing led all other economic sectors with a growth of 6.6%.

It continued in the second quarter of this year as well with a growth of 26.6% before recording a small contraction in the third quarter.

The sector has made a significant contribution to exports, making up 86% of total exports last year with a value of RM847.66 billion.

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