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FMM expresses concern over govt's plan to export skilled Malaysians to Japan

FMM In The News: BERNAMA, KUALA LUMPUR, Tuesday, May 31, 2022 - The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has expressed concern over the government's plan to export skilled Malaysians to Japan, contending that the focus should be on efforts to shore up adequate local supply instead.

President Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said as there was no prior consultations or details made available on this potential skill export to Japan, the federation hoped more information on the MoC by the Ministry of Human Resources could be shared so that the industry would be clear on how the collaboration might work.

“As it stands, Malaysia is currently facing an acute shortage of manpower, especially skilled workers, which is hampering our national economic recovery. The labour shortage has caused work stoppages and under production across the industry.

“Output has been severely constrained, resulting in the failure to fulfil existing orders and accepting new ones,” he said in a statement today.

The government recently said it planned to send local skilled graduates and/or eligible skilled workers to work in Japan under a memorandum of collaboration (MoC) between Malaysia and Japan.

Soh said the constraints on supply of goods to satisfy the required demand would add further inflationary pressures despite the recent benchmark interest rate hike by Bank Negara Malaysia which was intended to dampen inflation.

At this juncture, he said Malaysia is still preparing to get more skilled workers through various programmes such as Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) courses at various levels of the education system.

He said local public institutions and industries were enhancing collaboration initiatives in promoting TVET and STEM as a way to boost greater interest and participation of Malaysian youths in TVET and STEM education.

"This is also an initiative to support the technology transformation of our industries and at the same time to reduce the hiring of skilled expatriates.

“The MoC with Japan would somehow hamper the initiatives and hard work from all parties involved that has been ongoing over the past several years. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic had accelerated industrial and technological transformation, hence, the critical shortage of skilled workers is envisaged to continue for the next few years as we are coping with the transformational changes and increased demand for skilled manpower,” he said.

In addition, he noted that Malaysia has already been suffering from brain drain for some years now as many Malaysians have been migrating overseas in search of better jobs.

Malaysia has been working hard to bring these diasporas back via various initiatives, Soh said, adding that as such, Malaysia should carry on with these sustainable programmes for self-help first and do all that is possible and necessary to ensure that the industries do not face a dearth of skilled workers.

“The country should be more concerned with the brain-drain issues then to be thinking about repatriating earnings from overseas via exchange programmes. Obtaining upskilling
opportunities in developed countries could be something that Malaysian employers could consider after or as part of the on-the-job training.

“Instead of exporting skilled workers, Malaysia should consider memorandum of understanding (MoU) with companies in Malaysia for formal apprenticeship and upskilling programmes to be carried out by the global parent companies. This will help alleviate the skill shortages faced by our industries,” he said.

With the current employment condition of 80:20 ratio of local workers to foreign employees being imposed by the government, Soh said the MoC will further hamper the ability of Malaysian industries to obtain skilled manpower.


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