Malaysia to reform labour laws to cut ‘over-dependence’ on foreigners

MNA International Desk: Malaysia will review its labour laws to cut an ‘over-dependence’ on foreign labour and address other issues, its prime minister has said.

The country’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has taken the decision amid simmering discontent against overseas workers who make up 46 per cent of the labour force of the country.

The third biggest economy of the Southeast Asia had a labour force of 15.5 million in the first quarter of the year, reports Reuters.

More than 7.0 million of them were foreigners, from countries such as Bangladesh, with many working in the construction and hotel industries.

Labour force refers to employed or unemployed people between the age of 16 and 64.

The prime minister told a gathering of international trade chambers that generating more skilled jobs, raising salaries and wages, enhancing ‘management of migrant workers’ and improving labour market conditions were some of his government’s top labour-reform priorities.

Mr Mahathir said, “These reforms are crucial, not only in developing human capital to support our future economic growth but also in addressing job mismatches which contribute to graduate underemployment, unemployment, and slow wage growth as well as over-dependence on foreign labour.”

The prime minister said his government was also working on increasing the female labour force participation rate to 59 per cent by next year. In the first quarter, the figure was 55.7 per cent.


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