ANNOUNCED AS TEMPORARYNo
Labour market access
In the first six months of 2009 Malaysia is reported to have taken various steps concerning foreign workers. In late January many news outlets reported that the Malaysian Cabinet had decided to ban the hiring of new foreign workers. In addition, it was reported that the Cabinet had approved a measure to force companies to fire their foreign workers first. The latter policy is often referred to as the "foreign workers first out policy." While it has been impossible to independently verify that these Cabinet decisions have taken place, it is noteworthy that the Malaysian Minister of Human Resources, B Datuk Dr S. Subramaniam, stated in a speech on 16 April 2009 that "One of the significant strategies is the need for Malaysia to reduce dependency on foreign workers for example by enforcing 'foreign workers first out' policy. Currently there are about 2 million foreign workers in the country working in various economic sectors as unskilled or semi-skilled workers."
Moreover, as part of Malaysia's stimulus package, the Ministry of Human Resources has initiated three training programmes. One such programme is called "Train and Replace." In a different speech, given on 27 April 2009, Minister Subramaniam explained "Train and Replace is another training program where the Government provides training for local workers to prepare them to replace foreign workers in strategic occupations favoured by locals."
The quotations above are from speeches downloaded from the official website of the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources.
Subsequent press reports in early Maystated that the Malaysian Cabinet had decided to defer raising the fees to hire foreign workers.
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