'A national concern: Reduce dependence on foreign workers'- Rafizi

KUALA LUMPUR: Employers and industry players have no choice but to reduce dependence on foreign workers.

Commenting on the influx of foreign workers, Economy Minister Rafizi Ramli said the situation was due to the industry's dependency on foreign workers.

"This issue is a national concern, not an issue about foreign arrivals.

"It starts with our dependence on foreign workers.

"(If you) ask employers, they say our people are not willing to work in certain industries anymore.

"Part of it is due to wages, but with the minimum wage, their salaries are more competitive than before," he said in a posting on X (formerly Twitter).

The situation that we are facing today, he said, is a result of our actions decades ago.

This includes the public's move to rent out their licences to these foreigners for them to run businesses or practise Ali Baba.

Rafizi said the government has taken steps to address the issue which include reforming our labour market through the implementation of progressive wages, industry training (AI) and phasing down of foreign workers through various levies (MTL).

"The Economy Ministry which is drafting the Malaysian Plan will finalise the phased reduction targets of foreign workers by 2030 (in RM13).

"The Anti-Ali Baba Act will allow action against Malaysians who employ Ali Baba tactics in renting out licences to foreign workers without meeting requirements," he explained.

Rafizi, however, acknowledged that the move to reduce our dependence on foreign workers requires a balance to avoid drastic effects on industries heavily reliant on foreign workers.

"But, as I've said to employers and industries - it is coming because we cannot afford to continue like this," he added.

Foreigners from various countries have chosen at least 30 locations across the Klang Valley to live and set up businesses.

Their influx particularly in the city centre has led to growing unease and concern among locals.

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