New Straits Times
By : Annie Freeda Cruez and V. Vasudevan
PUTRAJAYA, MALAYSIA: The Human Resources Ministry is pushing for a temporary freeze on the hiring of foreign workers.
Minister Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam said a letter would be sent to the Home Ministry today in view of the high retrenchment of workers following the global economic recession.
"We want industries to stop recruiting foreign workers and offer jobs to Malaysians instead."
Dr Subramaniam will meet Home Minister Datuk Seri Syed Hamid Albar soon to discuss the matter.
The cabinet had recently approved a special allocation of RM100 million for the Retrenchment Fund to retrain retrenched workers and another RM70 million to facilitate employment of retrenched employees and graduates seeking jobs.
Two special committees have been set up to manage the funds.
Last year 33,451 workers were retrenched, compared with 26,417 in 2007. Between October last year and yesterday 13,040 workers were retrenched, including 2,955 foreigners, while 45,000 have been temporary laid off work.
The number is set to increase with 221 companies notifying the Labour Department that they would retrench 6,318 this month and another 89 companies retrenching 3,270 workers next month.
Under the Employment Act, employers must inform the department a month in advance of the intention to retrench workers.
Dr Subramaniam urged employers to postpone retrenchment and if it is unavoidable, then foreigners should go first.
The ministry has set up 80 operations centres nationwide to monitor retrenchments as well as validate job vacancies.
Labour Department director-general Datuk Ismail Abdul Rahim said there are 15,459 job vacancies mainly for general workers, machine operators, service technicians and managers.