Thursday, 26 June 2008

Local or Foreign labour?

The number of foreign worker in Malaysia now is alarming with many foreign workers with an expired visa and permit continued to stay and work illegally in Malaysia. I will not bore you with all the statistics but it’s a fact. I was even offered by many agents to take illegal maids and illegal foreign worker for my company without having to pay for permits, levy or insurance etc…



The truth is, there is a lot of demand for either legal or even illegal foreign workers and many employers could not care less about the legality of the foreign worker as long as they are hard working which is subjective but if they are not, they can easily be disposed of as there was no money paid for permits, air fare, levy etc.


It is arguable that foreign workers are cheaper and more discipline and hard working. Having interviewed more than 1,000 potential local fresh candidates (from school and colleges) for recruitment and shortlisted more than half of the candidates to finally recruited 200 of them on the first intake, there is less than 10 employee that can really performs the job description that was required. Thus, intensive training was provided for most freshies or those with no experience (fresh graduate) only to have them leave the soonest they get other job offering an extra RM50 per month from their current employment. The cycle continues and we end up having to re-train more freshies and they keep leaving for an extra RM50 salary p/mth or when pressured or when given extra responsibility. The next best option is to take those with relevant experience that requires less training. We then advertised daily since January this year and managed to recruit less than 5 employees of the total 200 that is required.

Illegal immigrant or illegal foreign worker is a big NO. I will not risk any unnecessary problems with the authority. No matter how easy and cheap illegal foreign worker is and how easy it is to dispose them if they don’t perform, the risk of being caught will jeopardise the company.


Foreign workers on the other hand, travelled to our country to make a living. What our locals deemed as low pay (and leave the soonest they get RM50 extra offer) are a good remuneration to foreign workers. Foreign workers from Myanmar and Thailand as an example, can even converse in Malay language in the shortest period to quickly adapt and make a living. Most foreign workers even work extra hours without being asked and works harder to have their contract renewed. The contract they signed will ensure their commitment for at least the duration of the contract which will be worth the training that we will be investing in.

These are both extreme scenarios as I am sure they are many employers with bad experience employing foreign workers and there are also many employers with good experience employing local labour but in the absent of quality local employees, the next option is to recruit foreign workers.

Being patriotic, I would like to maintain 100% Malaysian workforce but with at least 200 employees urgently required, do i have to resort to employing foreign worker?


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