SEREMBAN, Jan 13– The Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) will study the request by industry players in the timber, plantation and glove sectors for exemption from the government’s freeze on foreign workers recruitment.

Its minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali noted that the request was made based on labour shortage that the three sectors were facing. 

“I have directed the ministry to prepare a working paper on the importance of the sectors in the country as well as other sectors that are facing problems, such as tourism.

“On that matter, we will look at aspects where we could assist and give an exemption to the plantation and furniture sectors, subject to government approval,” he told reporters after a working visit to furniture factory HeveaPac Sdn Bhd here, yesterday.

He nevertheless stressed that priority would be given to locals in the hiring of workers.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan on June 22 last year was reported as saying that the recruitment of foreign workers in all sectors has been frozen until the end of 2020, with locals given priority in employment opportunities.

Meanwhile, HeveaPac’s executive director, Peh Ju Chai said the company which had been operating since 2001, currently employs 2,200 employees from Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal.

“We are facing a shortage of workers and are trying to find locals, (but) most of them are not interested because this work is 3D (dangerous, dirty and difficult).

“I have even tried recruiting from the Orang Asli community and Sarawakians. The furniture sector in Malaysia has a bright future and we hope the government can help provide us with more workers,” he said.


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