We need proper study and affirmative action before foreign workers are replaced

After allowing millions of foreign workers for so many years suddenly the director general of immigration realised that many of these workers are violating the immigration act. The free inflow of foreign workers has made the local restaurants dependent on them and did not develop alternative means of service and delivery to customers.

The local restaurants, hotels and other service industry will collapse or undergo tremendous hardship if sudden and stringent action are taken straight away. Malaysians don’t deserve this delayed and sloppy action at the time of economic hardship. This will only bring joy to the police and RELA personnel when they go around raiding and intimidating foreign workers who are themselves poor and exploited.

How come the previous director generals of immigration were oblivious of this violation of the immigration act? In fact Immigration and ministry of human resources together approved labour agency all over labour exporting countries to bring in hundreds of thousands of foreign workers.

The immigration department has allowed millions of foreign workers in this country both legally and illegally. In the process they replaced the locals from the construction, plantations, restaurants and hospitality industry. The presence of millions of foreign waiters in local restaurants has depressed the wages and deprecated the working conditions in these industries.

This situation has destroyed the employment opportunities of Malaysians.

The government has abdicated its responsibility on the socio economic problems that will arise from the influx of millions of foreign workers in Malaysia. Therefore there were no plans and policies to train local workers and to develop the services and deliveries of restaurants from less labour intensive to more self service or more automation.

Since many agents were making money the immigration department went on blissful sleepy mode. Malaysia needed foreign workers but it is the government’s responsibility to coordinate and control the flow to the level that does not jeopardise the employment and socio economic situation in the country.

There was no concrete and affirmative action to replace these foreign workers with locals over the period.Foreign workers are becoming indispensable to restaurants and other industries.

Without a proper strategy and remedy, the DG of immigration should not take any action to arrest and deport foreign workers. This will create hardship and economic losses to the restaurants and tourism industry.

The government needs to look at how developed countries managed their labour shortage. There are poor and needy people in Malaysia too looking for job opportunities. Government decision makers must look at the hard facts and reality and come up with creative strategies before taking action.

Explore posts in the same categories: From the desk of Senator S Ramakrishnan

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