Mahathir Urges Malaysians To Take Jobs In Foreign-Dominated Sectors

Mahathir bin Mohamad
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad reacts during an interview with Reuters in Langkawi, Malaysia March 28, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Feline Lim)

Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad addressed local workers with a serious tone, urging them to start considering jobs currently dominated by Bangladeshi and other foreign workers.

According to The Star, Mahathir said foreigners will keep dominating the Malaysian workforce if locals keep refusing to take on labor-type jobs. He added that Malaysians should start transforming their outlook on dependence and start working hard to succeed without relying too much on government assistance.

Speaking at the "Youths Ask Tun Answers" on Sunday, Mahathir noted the importance of hard work and uniting to keep Malaysian dominion in the workforce. "Way back during the British occupation, they brought in others (from India and China) because locals refused to work in rubber estates and mines," he reminded the crowd.

Furthermore, Mahathir said, "discipline and hard work" are the values that Malaysians should learn. For the Malaysian chief, monetary types of assistance will not strengthen individual values and instead "weaken them."

Finally, Mahathir said Mathematics and Science subjects should be taught using the English language. He explained that this move will help learners become experts in technology and science who have the skill and language that they can use globally.

One of the issues that have haunted the Malaysian workforce is wages. It was reported over the weekend that illegal Malaysian workers in Australia said they refused to work in their home country due to wages. They also dismissed claims that they refused labor jobs.

The report noted that statements made by illegal Malaysian workers in Australia thwart earlier claims by Malaysian employers and firms regarding locals shunning labor-intensive jobs. The study found out that most illegal workers in Australia actually work in construction, farming, cleaning, and restaurant sectors.

To address the issue, Mahathir said last month that companies making enough should start raising average wages. The Prime Minister said higher salaries will encourage locals to work in their country and help drive the economy.

Meanwhile, debates rage on regarding the legalization of foreign workers and immigrants in Malaysia. The Sabah Immigration Department announced earlier this month that it has kicked off the process of legalizing illegal workers who offer labor services in agriculture sectors.

While others agree that this is fair enough, some politicians believe there should be limits to the process. Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) President, Jeffrey Kitingan, said that he supports the cause. However, illegal immigrants should not be legalized as it would be a violation of Malaysian laws, he said.

Kitingan added that for illegal immigrants to be legalized in Malaysia, there is a need for close cooperation with appropriate consulates or embassies of the immigrants' home countries.

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