We can reduce foreign labour numbers by 10-20pc, says Mustapa
KUALA LUMPUR, May 15 — The number of foreign workers can be reduced by between 10 and 20 per cent in the near future, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
He said there are plans to substitute a substantial portion of foreign labour with local manpower through the introduction of the minimum wage.
“Currently there are about 700,000 foreign workers in the manufacturing sector,” he said at a media briefing after the launch of Malaysia’s Productivity Corporation’s (MPC) Productivity Report 2011/2012.
Mustapa said the reduction of foreign labour has to be done gradually so as not to have an undue impact on companies.
“We need to continue to import foreign labour but we need to also ensure we can substitute a portion of the foreign labour with local labour,” he said.
The manufacturing sector, he said, needs to increase productivity and the challenge is the large number of foreign workers.
“Malaysia must modernise its labour market to become a high-income economy.
Productivity can be increased through the improvement of the skills of Malaysians,” he said.
He stressed that industries need to create modern jobs where routine tasks are automated, use high technology and create higher value.
These, he said, are prerequisites to higher productivity and competitiveness as shown by the 10 most competitive economies.
From 2006 to 2010, according to the national Productivity Report 2011/2012, our average productivity growth was three per cent.
Last year, this improved to 4.6 per cent.
To achieve high-income status by 2020, the minimum productivity growth rate has to be four to five per cent every year from now till the end of the decade. — Bernama