Foreigners eating away locals livelihood

March 7th, 2009 by poobalan | View blog reactions Leave a reply »
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Today I saw a foreign worker selling young coconut water (air kelapa muda) along the road to my housing area. There are few other stalls along the 2km road – all manned by locals, except for the one I mentioned above. The Indonesian workers who work at housing development projects moonlight by offering services to local residents – everything from cement work, painting, tiling, plumbing. You name it, they’ll do it.  And of course, they charge as high as local workers if you fall for it. The foreigners don’t pay taxes and escape all kinds of fees. There’s even one family squatting on a land next door and our police and local council (MPS) can’t spot them in broad daylight! Yup, this is Bolehland for you.

Thus, its not surprising to see SK Devamany commenting that “foreign workers (and students) are taking away business opportunities from locals by working longer hours for less”.  He also added that the foreigners are moving from labour-intensive jobs to go into the micro-credit system. He said they were running businesses in Kampung Baru and the Chow Kit area, besides farming in rural areas. He also said locals allowed foreigners to run their businesses.

“The more foreigners work here, the more difficult it will be for locals to get a salary hike.”

To curb the trend, Devamany suggested several measures, including intensifying enforcement against foreigners and amendments to the law requiring employers to balance their workforce, suggesting 50/50 ratio.

Foreigners are overwhelming the country – due to corruption. In the name of business, trading, and permits, thousands of workers are brought in, but where they go after reaching Malaysia remains a questions. The rot starts from Immigration Department and I guess involve many people.  Just to give you an idea, a “agent” who is involved in securing work permits spends RM5000 for spa treatments and RM10,000 for hotel dining. Not for himself, but for his “guests” at the government department. That’s for a month. So, its natural only that one asks for the whole process to be investigated. That’s what Devamany asks of MACC:

Why is it so easy from them to enter the country?

I hope the MACC will play a bigger role in protecting our country from such problems

The Home Affairs Ministry needs to alter its foreign worker policy and not stoop to the whims and fancies of employers for they are only looking for maximum profit

Yeah, why indeed?

Education is also not spared. Due to competitiveness, local colleges and universities are importing students of dubious academic qualifications and intentions. Now we see cases of suicides, black money scams, robbery, drug distribution, prostitution etc happening. We see foreigners selling knick-knacks,

I remember writing about the corruption case and arrest of Immigration Department’s officer last year July. The issues with foreign workers is a long running saga, perhaps going back into last 15 years. If one is going to investigate the wrong-doings, it will take a long time and most probably fruitless.

So, what is the solution? We need immediate, short-term, and mid-term, and long term solutions.  There’s a need to balance between industry requirement and local employment needs. Our local youths are of not much help either. Some expect money to fall down on their laps, and we are not talking about RM500 here. Quite recently, I had a diploma holder with less than few years experience asking for RM3000 salary! In this time of crisis, we have to lower expectations a bit. We still employ barbers from India because local don’t fancy the job. Of course lower salary is an impending factor. The locals, even if they lower their expectations, they can’t compete with foreign workers’ salaries.

The downside of reducing dependency on foreign workers is the increase in operational costs that is solvable in two ways – business absorbing the increase or passing it to the consumers. No prizes for guessing the correct answer. The question we should ask is if the lower operating cost and increase profits is worth the security problems and long-term population issues.

Only critical industries like construction and plantation should be still allowed to import workers. I was in a hotel in KL end of last year. All of  the workers were foreigners! And here in our country, we have hotel management courses being offered by all kinds of colleges.  Makes me wonder!


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