Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot (7th from right) with the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Adenan Ab Rahman (6th from right) and PTPK cheif executive officer Datuk Abdul Halim Muhamad Salleh (5th from left) pose for a photo after handing out duit raya during the Pelanggan Perbadanan Tabung Pembangunan Kemahiran (PTPK) Hari Raya openhouse at Sunway Putra Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. Pix by SALHANI IBRAHIM.

KUALA LUMPUR: The move to allow United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) cardholders to work in the plantation and manufacturing sector in the country has proven to be unsuccessful.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Richard Riot said the ministry has tried their best the response has not been encouraging.

"They don't want to work there.

"A total of 300 cardholders had registered for work but after three days of work, all had left but one person.

"Only one person stayed, continuing to work," Richard said after attending the Skills Development Fund Corporation Hari Raya Open House today.

He said the 300 cardholders were made of various nationalities, not only those from the Rohingya community.

Richard explained that the ministry was instructed to carry out the pilot project by the Cabinet.

"Many do not know that in 2015, there were a total of 2.1 million foreign workers, by December 2016, it has dropped to 1.8 million.

"This has actually affected big plantations due to the decrease in the number of workers.

"The Cabinet instructed us to take UNHCR cardholders for work in the plantations," he said.

Asked if the ministry would look into the matter further, Richard said: "Don't think they (UNCHR cardholders) are interested".

The pilot project was first announced by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi in February this year.