Malaysia aims to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country to 1.5 million by 2010, the Ministry of Finance said Friday.
By the year 2010, only 250,000 foreign workers will remain in the manufacturing sector and another 200,000 in the construction sector, the ministry said in the 2006/2007 Economic Report.
"Efforts are underway to reduce the dependence on foreign workers by encouraging greater automation and mechanization of labor intensive industries," the report said.
To reduce the dependency of foreign workers in construction, manufacturing and services sectors, the government has made it mandatory for all employers to advertise their vacancies through the Electronic Labor Exchange (ELX) at the Manpower Department to offer more opportunities for local Malaysians.
Employers in the three main sectors are required to advertise vacancies for a duration of one week for the plantation sector, two weeks for services and a month for the manufacturing sector to provide ample opportunities for Malaysians to take up the vacancies. If Malaysians fail to take those offers, then foreign workers may be considered.
As of June 2006, there were 1.84 million registered foreign workers in Malaysia, of which 33.3 percent were employed in manufacturing, 20.2 percent in plantation, 25.9 percent in services (including domestic maids) and 15.1 percent in construction.
The majority of foreign workers were from Indonesia (64.7 percent), Nepal (10.7 percent), India (7.4 percent) and Myanmar (5. 2 percent), while in the services sector, about 66.5 percent foreign workers were employed as domestic maids, of whom 90 percent come from Indonesia, said the report.
Meanwhile, the report said, the labor market conditions in Malaysia are expected to remain favorable in 2006, especially in the second half with rising employment opportunities.
The unemployment rate is projected to remain low at 3.5 percent, added the report.