Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has acknowledged the urgent need for manpower in the textile, goldsmith and barber shop sectors and the government is set to partially lift the freeze on the intake of foreign workers in these sectors. He said Human Resource Minister V Sivakumar will bring the matter to the Cabinet on Friday. He however added that Putrajaya would not totally lift the ban for now.

In March, the Malaysian Associated Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MAICCI) said the three sectors have not had sufficient foreign labour because of the 2009 freeze. It said the present foreign workers have been on temporary employment passes which are renewed on a yearly basis. However, those passes will be terminated in stages. Datuk Seri Anwar hopes the ministry will provide training or incentives to ensure the country’s Indian youths are trained and employed. “Each time I meet an Indian leader, they would bring up these three sectors, so I said okay, I will grant the approval for now. “But let’s also add training and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) for our Indian youths.”

Sivakumar confirmed later that a memorandum on unfreezing the three sectors will be presented to the Cabinet on Friday. He also said he previously held discussions with Home Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail and former Cost of Living and Domestic Trade Minister, Salahuddin Ayub, about reopening the three sectors. “In principle, both ministers had agreed to reopen these three sectors,” he said.


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