Malaysia’s decision to halt the recruitment of new foreign workers will not affect the validity of an agreement signed with Bangladesh for taking 1.5 million workers.
This is because the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was for a period of five years, said Human Resources Minister Richard Riot.
“The agreement will remain valid when the freeze is lifted. We have signed agreements for intake of foreign labour not only with Bangladesh but with seven countries.
“The freeze does not make the agreements null and void,” he told The Star when met at Parliament lobby yesterday.
On Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Cabinet had decided to put a stop to the recruitment of new foreign workers into the country.
He said employers who needed workers would have to apply to legalise existing foreigners in the country without work permits or whose permits have expired.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also the Home Minister, said employers had until June 30 to legalise such foreign workers.
Meanwhile, the Works Ministry said the government’s decision to freeze the intake of foreign workers would not disrupt existing construction projects.
Its Minister Fadillah Yusof said the current workforce was sufficient to meet demand.
“This is especially so with the rehiring programme introduced by the government, which will allow illegals to obtain valid work permits and be reallocated to sectors that need them.
“However, using foreign labour is a short-term solution,” he said when contacted yesterday.
In the long run, he said the industry must reduce its dependency on foreign labour by leveraging on the Industrialised Building System (IBS) method and mechanisation in construction.
*Copyright: The Star/Asia News Network