Profiteering, rather than market demand, could be behind the plan to still bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers, said trade groups as local businesses face a rough year and more Malaysians lose their jobs.
The nation’s two largest groups of employers and private sector workers showed a rare moment of agreement when they both challenged the government’s persistent claims that industries needed these 1.5 million extra foreign workers. The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) usually disagree on everything concerning labour issues.
But in separate interviews, they both said that the billion-ringgit foreign labour supplier industry could be influencing the so-called demand for these 1.5 million new workers. This is since each foreign worker usually nets a supplier between RM3,000 and RM4,000 per person in net profit, they said. Another cash cow was online services to process the applications. Other critics of the plan such as Klang MP Charles Santiago (pic, below left) also pointed to the presence of former ministry officials in the business as a sign that this industry was having an undue influence in the plan and on foreign labour policies in general. And then there’s the huge number of undocumented foreign workers, which the groups claimed could number 2.3 million or one for each legal worker.