The Malaysian government has decided to halt the recruitment of new foreign workers to the country, said its deputy prime minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Hamidi also made it clear that their initial plan to bring in 1.5 million Bangladeshi workers was officially scrapped, according to Malaysian media, including The Star Online of Malaysia.
“Employers who need workers will have to apply to legalise existing foreigners in the country without work permits or whose permits have expired,” Hamidi was reported as telling reporters after handing letters of appointments to new village chiefs in the Bagan Datoh parliamentary constituency. The deputy PM, who is also the Home Minister, said employers had until June 30 to legalise such foreign workers. “The government is bringing forward the deadline from December 31 because employers continuously ignore the chances given to then.”
Instead, the government is criticised and pressured. If they cannot hire anyone, they should just get the Malaysian Employers Federation, Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers and Malaysian Trade Union Congress to help them find locals to do the job, he said. Following this, Hamidi warned, Malaya’s employers and recruitment agents would face the music in case of violation of the order. On February 19, Malaysia decided to suspend recruitment of all foreign workers, including those from Bangladesh, just a day after signing an MoU with Dhaka for hiring 1.5 million Bangladeshis to work in the country.