Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaysia facing labour shortage as economy recovers



Malaysia facing labour shortage as economy recovers

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The NCCIM reported a shortage of 77,721 workers in Malaysia, with the manufacturing sector requiring up 77.1 per cent of the total manpower needed. THE STAR

Malaysia facing labour shortage as economy recovers

There are many jobs available for Malaysians as employers urgently require workers in certain critical sectors, such as manufacturing and construction, as the economy recovers from the pandemic.

Employers are urging the government to resolve labour woes quickly in these sectors as the economy recovers after almost two years of on-off operations.

National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (NCCIM) president Low Kian Chuan said the worker shortage was caused by expiring foreign workers’ permits, poaching of workers by other sectors as well as the “open and shut” standard operating procedures during the various movement control orders.

The NCCIM’s Quick Take Survey, covering 835 companies, reported a shortage of 77,721 workers, with the manufacturing sector requiring up 77.1 per cent of the total manpower needed, followed by the construction sector (11.2 per cent) and other services (8.9 per cent)

Data compiled from industry associations show that plantations require 70,000 foreign workers, rubber glove industry (25,000), furniture (30,000), construction (200,000), manufacturing (25,000), services (45,000) and plastics (6,293), he said.

“The number of foreign workers now stands at 1.1 million, down 800,000 from 1.9 million in 2018.

“In August 2021, the number of unemployed persons reduced to 748,800 persons compared to 778,200 in July.

“This means that if a new addition of about 250,000 unemployed persons were to fill up the vacuum left by foreign workers, there remains a shortfall of at least 500,000 workers assuming some businesses have right-sized due to the pandemic.

“We must also take into account underutilisation of labour caused by time and skills mismatch with the labour market,” said Low, who is also Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) president.

In June last year, human resources minister Saravanan Murugan had announced a freeze on new intake of foreign workers until the end of 2020, which intended to reduce their numbers as well as give locals priority in securing employment.

Last month, he said the freeze was extended until December 31.

Low said if the problem is not addressed, it would stifle business recovery, hamper production to meet backlogged orders and create uncertainty for new orders.

Many hard-hit industries such as tourism, retail, non-essential sectors operated by micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) are still working hard to recoup their revenue loss and repair their balance sheet, added Low.

“Businesses still face many cost-related challenges; which include cash flow, the rising cost of raw materials, sky-rocketing freight costs for exporters and importers as well as shortage of manpower.

“We hope the government under Budget 2022 will continue to provide some operating costs relief measures for badly-hit sectors such as wage subsidies, hiring incentives, rental relief and targeted loan repayment assistance as well as tax treatment.

“Measures to ease the cost of raw materials include the reduction of import duties and excise duties on intermediate inputs, machinery equipment and building materials as well as the provision of Market Development Grants to cover the logistic costs of exporters and importers,” he said.

Low added that while the government is in the process of allowing the intake of 32,000 foreign workers for the plantation sector, a stop-gap solution can also be worked out to plug the shortages in other major economic sectors to facilitate their recovery.

THE STAR (MALAYSIA)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia to waive quarantine requirements Nov 15, no PCR test required

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has decided to lift all quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated travellers and visitors – both Cambodians and foreign nationals – effective from November 15 onward. In a special message addressed to officials and relevant authorities on November 14, Hun Sen said this policy will enable

  • PM: No more quarantine for vaccinated travellers

    Cambodia is lifting all quarantine requirements for vaccinated inbound travellers entering Cambodia by air, waterway or land border checkpoints effective from November 15. Travellers will be required to take a rapid antigen test on arrival rather than waiting for the results of the lengthier polymerase chain

  • No payment required for travellers taking rapid Covid tests on arrival

    Ministry of Health officials said there would be no payment required for the rapid Covid-19 tests given to travellers who arrive in Cambodia from November 15 onwards after the quarantine requirement is lifted for fully vaccinated people. Health ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told The Post on

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • More Cambodians studying in US

    The number of Cambodian students studying at US colleges and universities in 2020-21 increased by 14.3 per cent over the previous year despite the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recent US government report. The 2021 Open Doors report on International Educational Exchange showed that 848 Cambodian students studied

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration