Sarawak needs skilled foreign workers, says chief minister

Sulok Tawie
·2-min read
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the state has a shortage of about 5,000 foreign workers, mostly in the construction sector. — Bernama pic
Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said the state has a shortage of about 5,000 foreign workers, mostly in the construction sector. — Bernama pic

KUCHING, Oct 23 — The state economy is seeing green shoots of recovery, but the worst of the havoc wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg said today.

He said the problem lies with the availability of the workers, especially the skilled foreigners.

He said the state has a shortage of about 5,000 foreign workers, mostly in the construction sector.

“A committee co-chaired by Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah and State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion has been formed to look into the details on how to solve the problem of foreign workers,” he told reporters when announcing the extension of seven measures under the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) here.

Abang Johari said one of the measures would be to reskill local workers.

He added some major projects have been delayed by three to four months due to the shortage of skilled workers.

He said the workers went back to their home countries before the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Abang Johari said many could not return to the country through proper channels due to the strict enforcement of the Covid-19 SOP by the state government, and those did, had snuck in through illegal routes.

“What we want to do now is to look at the implications, especially the workers,” he said.

The chief minister said the agriculture sector is not affected by the pandemic.

“But the tourism sector is badly affected,” he said.

He added the committee will look at reskilling those in the tourism sector.

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