Guan Eng turns up the heat on Saravanan ahead of Oct 5 meeting on foreign labour shortage

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan’s “deafening silence” on calls for his resignation does not hide his failed handling of the country’s foreign labour shortage, DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng said.

Last month, both men had challenged the other to resign, which Saravanan accepted by saying his resignation as minister would occur if any flaws could be found.

Saravanan then invited Lim and his DAP compatriots Datuk Ngeh Koo Ham and M. Kulasegaran to a special briefing on Wednesday to prove his purported incompetence as human resources minister.

“In advance of the coming ‘confrontation’ between the Saravanan and me, DAP MPs M. Kula and Ngeh Koo Ham on October 5, on the failure of the government to address the severe migrant labour shortage in all sectors, the Human Resources Ministry has suddenly announced approval for 541,315 foreign workers until September 26, of which 436,613 have already paid the levy.

“The ministry said taking into account the existing 1.3 million foreign workers and the approved quota, the number has almost met the industry’s total demand of 1.8 million for foreign labour.

“Such drama-filled theatrics is to be expected from those who protest too much that they are competent or have no weaknesses or refuse to see the reality on the ground of businesses suffering from manpower shortage,” Lim said in a statement today.

Lim added that the reality on the ground does not tally with the human resources minister’s claims that the foreign labour shortage has been resolved.

“In a joint press statement, Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM), on behalf of a group of 10 construction associations, said that the continued foreign labour shortage has stifled the recovery of the construction industry, noting that they are facing higher interest rates.

“MBAM urged Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to intervene in reverting the foreign worker entry process to the Construction Labour Exchange Centre Bhd (CLAB) to handle foreign workers’ issues without the participation of the Ministry of Human Resource to simplify the entry of foreign workers immediately.

“Clearly, the ministry has failed to deliver its promise to speed up the employer interview process at One Stop Centres (OSCs) according to zones and states or give approvals within one week under the Foreign Workers Centralised Management System (FWCMS),” he said.

The contractor associations said the continued foreign labour shortage has stifled the recovery of the construction industry, claiming that they are facing higher interest rates.

Earlier in July, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob asked the Human Resources Ministry to speed up the employer interview process by increasing the number of interviewers at OSCs according to zones and states.