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Lift freeze on migrant workers to help us recover, says FMM

FMM In The News: FREE MALAYSIA TODAY, PETALING JAYA, Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - The government has to lift the freeze on foreign worker recruitment to help businesses recover, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) says.

FMM president Soh Thian Lai said foreign workers were needed for the manufacturing sector as orders and production were starting to gain momentum.

“Over the past year, the industry has had to repatriate workers due to the expiry of their permits. Some of the workers are stuck in their home countries and have not been allowed to re-enter the country due to the pandemic and closure of borders,” he said in a statement.

Soh added that foreign workers were usually employed to fill up general operator-level jobs which employers found difficult to fill with locals due to the nature of the job or industry.

He also said the switch to more automation and the adoption of digitalisation would take time and therefore labour requirements must continue to be supported to sustain and grow businesses.

“Manufacturers, especially exporters and the supporting SME businesses, must continue to be backed with the necessary initiatives including support in manpower requirements.

“Otherwise, the industry will face deeper problems when it is not able to fulfill their orders during this critical period,” said Soh.

He said for the nation to transition into a high-income economy, the government must have in place a more holistic and transparent management and administration of foreign workers so the change can take place gradually via a “market-based mechanism”.

“This would serve as a natural mechanism for industries to re-evaluate their business models.”

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