Foreign Workers and Issue

Topics: Migrant worker, Construction, Employment Pages: 13 (4532 words) Published: July 22, 2012

A lot of studies had been conducted on foreign worker issues in Malaysia and they had been discussed in various dimensions, positive impact such as great contribution to Malaysia rapid growth of economy of 8% GDP from year 1990 to year 1997. Yet, negative impacts which come along such as social problem were committed by foreign workers. Spread of diseases, theft, cheating, robbery and even killing are some the serious social problems created. In this paper, we would like to examine foreign workers issues and challenges in the perspective of ethic and corporate social responsibilities.


Why Malaysia need foreign workers to support the growth of economy? By the end of 80’s, the booming of industrial revolution in Malaysia started. The country’s population could not catch up the surge forward by eager entrepreneurs. Sectors such as construction, plantation and manufacturing industries actually drained off all the local manpower resources. As a result, the country needed to import workforce due to several reason. Local people who were being trained were promoted to supervisor level or higher management level, thus more vacancies are available. Malaysia’s entrepreneurs overcome the manpower shortage problem by import workforce from other countries which had excess manpower at a reasonable cost. The foreign workers who being employed not only obtain the job opportunity where their own country shortage of, but also earn an income to improve their lives of his family. According to the information by employers to the Manpower Department as Fig.1, ("Selected social statistics" 2009) generally manufacturing industry contributed the highest vacancies followed by the agriculture and construction industries. In 2006, the percentage of vacancies in the manufacturing industry was 41.9 percent. This was followed by agriculture and construction industry with 22.3 percent and 15.6 per cent respectively. Also as shown in Fig. 2, ("Selected social statistics" 2009) the lowest number of foreign workers was reported in 2001 (850 thousands workers), however the number had increasing significantly more than 2 million workers in year 2007. Figure 1 Vacancies in industrial sectors by Malaysia Standard Industrial Classification, Malaysia, 2006 – 2007 Figure 2 Number of foreign workers, Malaysia, 2001 - 2007

Fig 3 Present statuses of workers as per year 2008
In Figure 3, ("Managing foreign workers," 2008) shown that foreign workers in Malaysia mainly consist of Indonesian (65.3%) follow by Nepal and Myanmar (10%) and 7.2% respectively. This is due to Indonesia had a similar language as Malaysia do. Two nations speak similar language. Moreover, Indonesia had a closer border with Malaysia among the ASEAN countries while compare to others. While looking at the sector which most involved by foreign workers, it is consists of domestic maids, construction, manufacturing, services, plantation and agriculture. These sectors are labor intensive and low skilled workers based. From the above figure 1, 2 and 3, we found that number of foreign workers were increase triple on year 2006 compare to year 2001. This is due to great demand of workforce in manufacturing, agricultural and construction. And almost half of the foreign workers are come from Indonesia due to the geographically reason and culture similarity. 3.0 Why foreign workers were needed in manufacturing, agricultural and construction sector?

One of the main reasons is that Malaysians are achieving higher education level than it used to be. PMR or SPM no longer gain any education background advantages while looking for jobs. With the effort spent by the government, more chances are available for Malaysian to obtain their degree in Malaysia’s University. Under this circumstance, the young generations are looking forward for higher pay, high technology based and comfortable working environment. The “3D” works – dirty, demeaning and dangerous job are then...

References: 1) Ministry of Human Resources, Immigrations Department of Malaysia. (2009). Selected social statistics, series 10. Retrieved from website:
2) Managing workforce in malaysia. (2008) Retrieved from
3) Leela, C. (2004, March). Perspective of foreign workers and their rights and employment in malaysia. Retrieved from
4) Philips, S. R. (2008, October). Migrant workers in malaysia – issues, concerns. Retrieved from
5) CHARLES , H. (2008, October 26). Illegal for employers to hold migrant worker 's passports. Retrieved from
6) Steven, D. (2011, Feb 11). Two foreigners killed after inhaling dangerous fumes. Retrieved from
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8) Lim, S. G. (2012, Feb 16). Disgraceful label . Retrieved from
9) International trade union confederation. (2009). Retrieved from,ITUC,,MYS,4c52cad92d,0.html
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