Thursday December 8, 2016
07:34 AM GMT+8
PETALING JAYA, Dec 8 — Employers remained unfazed over the decision by Myanmar to stop sending workers to Malaysia, saying it will not disrupt the various sectors here.
The Malaysian Employers’ Federation said the nation was not dependent on workers from Myanmar as the numbers were “small and insignificant”.
Its executive director, Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, said there were 141,858 workers from Myanmar in the country with the majority (71 per cent) working in the manufacturing industry. The rest were in construction (11 per cent), service (10.5 per cent) and agriculture (four per cent).
“Some sectors could be affected but not greatly. I believe the government can introduce policies to encourage Malaysians to fill the void,” he said.
“Re-branding jobs and providing skill certification proved to be successful as more Malaysians encouraged to enter the workforce.”
Those reaching retiring age should also be encouraged to continue working.
Shamsuddin said he remainedf uncertain about the fate of existing workers in the country.
“There will be a vacuum if those who remained here were asked to leave but we should not forget we have refugees,” he said.
“Perhaps the government can work out a policy to allow refugees to work in these sectors.”
Myanmar nationals are allowed to work in manufacturing, construction, plantation, agriculture and service industry except as security guards.
The Malaysian Trades Union Congress said the decision by Myanmar would not affect Malaysia in any way as the population of workers was small compared to Bangladeshi and Indonesians.
Its acting president, Abdullah Sani, said: “If they are gone, we can always depend on Bangladeshi and Indonesian workers. We don’t need them. We’re not bothered, really.
“If we want to send a strong message to the Myanmar government regarding the situation there, we should send all of their legal workers here back as well.
“Cut ties entirely. This will teach the Myanmar government a lesson.”
Federation of Malaysian Vegetable Growers Association secretary-general Chay Ee Mong said the move would not impact its members.
“We have a lot of workers from other countries mainly Nepal, Bangladesh and Indonesia. The presence of Myanmar nationals in our sector is small since the beginning and no significant impact, if any, will be felt,” he said.
Myanmar Rohingyas Human Rights Organisation Malaysia (MERHROM) president Zafar Ahmad Abdul Ghani said he is prepared for the worst over the fate of Myanmar nationals in Malaysia.
Zafar said his countrymen here should return to Myanmar.
“I’m saying this because the Myanmar government has proudly announced they have achieved democracy,” he said.
“If they are so proud of this, it is time for them to care for their own people instead of leaving us out there as refugees.
“Why are Myanmar nationals still suffering there .. being oppressed by their own government?”
Expressing his frustrations, Zafar, a strong advocate against the Myanmar government, said the Myanmar people should not have to suffer anymore when the country had announced “the presence of democracy”.
“We are supposed to feel safe in our own country, but instead we are constantly fearing for our lives up to point where we need to flee the country.
“What kind of democracy is this?”
Zafar also called for the intervention of all universal human rights organisations to put an end to the suffering by the Myanmar people.
“From what I see, there is only one thing that should be done, and that is for all countries who host Burmese workers to end all economic ties with the country,” he said.
“Only by doing so, the Myanmar government will learn. There is no other way.”