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FMM: Manufacturing sector needs 600,000 foreign workers

FMM In The News: NEW STRAITS TIMES, KUALA LUMPUR, Saturday, December 4, 2021 - The manufacturing sector needs to be replenished with about 600,000 foreign labour workforce to bring 2022 business outcomes to a level before the pandemic, said the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM).

President Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said there are some new investments that would still require some 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 general workers category arising from the current freeze in new recruitment of foreign workers and 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 dependency on foreign workers including structural policy changes which could otherwise impact the competitiveness of Malaysia as it moves to a high-income nation, focusing on high technology and high value-added products and services.   

The sector contributes a significant 23 per cent to the Malaysian economy. 

To recap, for the fourth quarter 2020 (Q4 2020), the manufacturing sector was the only economic sector with a positive growth of 3 per cent and this performance continued in Q1 2021 with stronger growth where manufacturing led all other economic sectors with a growth of 6.6 per cent. 

It continued in Q2 2021 with a growth of 26.6 per cent before recoding a small contraction in the Q3 2021. 

The sector has a significant contribution to exports i.e. 86 per cent of total exports in 2020 with a value of RM847.66 billion. 

The electrical and electronic (E&E) products held the biggest share of Malaysia's total exports in 2020 at 39.4 per cent or RM386.11 billion. --BERNAMA


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