(Updated)

Issue of 200,000 unemployed migrant workers to be resolved before year end — home minister

'New recruits of foreign workers will take time, while these foreign workers (who are already in the country) have completed their vaccination (against Covid-19) and can start working in two weeks from now,' said Hamzah. (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

'New recruits of foreign workers will take time, while these foreign workers (who are already in the country) have completed their vaccination (against Covid-19) and can start working in two weeks from now,' said Hamzah. (Photo by Sam Fong/The Edge)

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ISKANDAR PUTERI (Nov 29): Issues related to 200,000 unemployed migrant workers in the country who are registered under the Labour Recalibration Programme will be resolved before year end, said Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin.

He said the government had discussed the issue with several companies involved in recruiting foreign workers, including plantations, to re-employ them.

“Priority will be given to foreigners who have registered and been listed under the programme to get employment as they are already in the country.

“New recruits of foreign workers will take time, while these foreign workers [who are already in the country] have completed their vaccination [against Covid-19] and can start working in two weeks from now. We will resolve the matter before the end of this year,” he said at a press conference after officiating the handover ceremony of the Iskandar Puteri district police headquarters (IPD) project here on Monday (Nov 29).

Also present were state Public Works, Transport and Infrastructure Committee chairman Mohd Solihan Badri and Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani.

Hamzah said this when asked about the status of job applications of about 200,000 foreign workers who had applied for re-employment in the country.

On Nov 2, he reportedly said that 212,926 foreigners and 11,751 employers had applied to participate in the Labour Recalibration Programme, covering several sectors including manufacturing, construction, agriculture and plantation.

Meanwhile, the minister added that the government is in the midst of studying the request of private security companies in the country applying for permission to recruit workers from Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines, apart from Nepal.

He said thus far, 30,000 foreign workers out of 180,000 security guards working in the country are Nepalese, while the rest are locals.

“The quota remains at 80% local security guards and only 20% Nepalese, who have experience in security agencies. The issue now is to find the replacement for some of the 30,000 Nepalese whose visas have expired,” Hamzah added. 

“On the other hand, we want to prioritise the recruitment of locals as security guards because the positions must be filled by individuals who have integrity and understand the country’s laws,” he said.

Earlier, Hamzah in his speech proposed that the Royal Malaysia Police set up a talent scout team to ensure that the recruitment of officers and personnel of the security force consists of the best candidates in the country.

“We want [to recruit] those who really want to be police personnel, not those who see this career as a last resort. I am confident that, through this ‘talent scout’, the recruitment of police personnel can be improved by taking into account the aspects of human capital involving soft skills, emotional intelligence and [by being] tech-savvy,” he added.

He also urged the Public Works Department to appoint truly qualified contractors and not appointments based on lobbying action because the result of such action often caused problems, including government projects that were delayed or failed to be completed.

He added that construction of five IPD projects is being carried out nationwide, namely the Muallim IPD, Perak costing RM85 million, Jeli IPD, Kelantan (RM130.3 million), Lawas IPD, Sarawak (RM138.07 million), Hulu Terengganu IPD, Terengganu (RM108.88 million) and North Klang IPD, Selangor (RM159.3 million).

“Meanwhile, the construction of Belaga IPD, Sarawak costing RM90 million is currently in the process of documentation and expected to commence in the near future,” he said.