PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's government has clarified that its suspension of the recruitment of foreign workers does not affect the validity of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Putrajaya and Dhaka last week.
Malaysia's Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem said that the MoU signed with the Bangladesh government was still official.
He added that further details on the decision to freeze foreign workerrecruitment were to be announced by the Federal Government.
"I welcome the statement of the Deputy Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi) as it is a positive statement.
"It clearly reflects the (Human Resources) Ministry's priority in providing employment opportunities for local workers," Riot said in a statement.
On Thursday (Feb 18), a MoU was signed between Putrajaya and Dhaka to allow male and female Bangladeshi workers to be brought into the service, construction, farming, plantation and manufacturing sectors.
The next day, Dr Ahmad Zahid announced that the government had suspended the recruitment of all foreign workers, including those from Bangladesh, pending a review of the levy and rehiring programme.
In Kuching, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi chided former government leaders who accused the Government of policy flip-flop.
"The Government reversed certain policies because it is sensitive to the people's calls. "The same former leaders had acted similarly for the people when they were in the Government," he said.
"Now that they are no longer in power or holding any position, they are accusing the Government of flip-flop."
Speaking at an Excellence Award Presentation ceremony for the Home Ministry workforce at a hotel here yesterday, he referred to the critics as gila talak (meddlers). "He thinks he is the cleverest, the best, the most excellent.
"His time is over, please respect the ruling Government," said Dr Ahmad Zahid, adding he was not specifically referring to any individual.
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had on Friday (Feb 19) said the flip-flop in policy caused uncertainties among the people.
"We see flip-flop happening all the time. They introduce the policy, they reverse the policy and then they re-introduce it again, in all things, including the automotive sector," Mahathir said.
"I think there is some confusion about what you have to do, which has forced them to reverse every time," he said in a press conference after launching the Let's Read The Quran 2016 campaign here yesterday.
Meanwhile, SME Association of Malaysia president Michael Kang urged the government to release details and guidance for SMEs on the proper solutions and policies to follow.
"After collecting the levies, a certain amount of money should be allocated to the SME to upscale our own local staff, so we can gradually reduce our dependency on foreign workers," said Kang.
The SME Association works closely with the Human Resource Development Fund, aiming to provide training to local staff in terms of automated machinery training and guidance to improve workflow efficiency and productivity.