The Government must have the correct
mindset if it wishes to effectively overcome the problem of excess of
by MKula Segaran
(Ipoh, Thursday): DAP welcomes the move by the Government to halt the influx of foreign workers into the country. Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn had announced that the excess of foreign workers in the country had undermined the “locals first” policy.
Nevertheless, Fong’s proposal that the government should put a halt to the increasing number of foreign workers in the country is one that is long overdue considering that the problem of oversupply of foreign labour in Malaysia had been a longstanding one.
In fact, not only has the huge presence of foreign workers reduced employment opportunities for locals, it has also resulted in a plethora of social ills and escalation of crimes.
Although Fong had suggested a number of measures to overcome the problem, it is doubtful if they can be successfully implemented, especially when the Minister does not appear to portray the right mindset to achieve such an objective.
If Fong had been serious about addressing the problem, he would have been more proactive in taking the necessary steps to overcome it in his long capacity as Human Resource Minister instead of allowing the problem to get worse.
To effectively nip the problem in the bud, the Government must come up with stringent guidelines to ensure that employers give first priority to employing local workers. Only then can the “locals first” policy be realized.
In this regard, it is also important that the Government give serious consideration to the implementation of a national minimum wage policy. It is inconceivable that for a country that is aspiring towards developed status, there is no minimum wage guarantee for the welfare of workers.
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) had stressed many times that the imposition of a minimum wage system is necessary to effectively address the problem of over dependency on foreign labour, in addition to ensuring that local unskilled general workers are paid wages sufficient to cover their living expenditure.
* M. Kula Segaran, DAP Acting Secretary General & Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat