Malaysia reduces foreign workforce

Kathmandu, March 29:

Major Nepali labour destination market Malaysia has shed a huge number jobs of as it is hit due to the financial crisis. More than 26,000 people have lost their jobs in Malaysia so far this year as the economic slowdown forced employers to cut back, reported a news agency Bernama today.

Malaysian Employers’ Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan told Bernama he expected further job losses in the coming weeks. He said a $16.2 billion stimulus package unveiled earlier this month had not provided immediate incentive for companies to retain their workers.

The blue-collar Nepali job-holders are among the worst hit in the East Asian country that had seen a boom in the construction sector in the past years. The Malaysian government has slashed work permit approvals for foreign workers by almost 70 per cent this year and cancelled work visas of 55,000 Bangladeshi workers after unions said the situation for Malaysians was bleak enough.

In January, the Malaysian government has also banned the hiring of new foreign workers in the manufacturing and services sectors after a report forecast 45,000 Malaysians would lose their jobs in the next few months.

Malaysia is one of Asia’s largest importers of labour and has an estimated 2.2 million foreign workers who are the mainstay of the plantation and manufacturing sectors. There are around 4,00,000 Nepalis in Malaysia. The country slipped from second position to fourth as a top Nepali labour destination market. Only 1,509 Nepalis migrant workers reached Malaysia in Falgun. Qatar, as usual ranked first, with 5,177 Nepalis going to work in the Gulf country.

According to the Nepal’s Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE), a total of 13,743 Nepalis left for nearly four dozens countries from mid-Feb to mid-March, 296 less than those the previous month. Around 14,039 people left for foreign jobs in Falgun (from mid-January to mid-February).

Nearly 9,758 Nepalis — 9304 male and 454 female — got prior permission last month. Likewise, 3,025 migrant workers left Nepal through individual sources. A slight change in the pattern of Nepali migrant workers was seen in DoFE data. The number of Nepalis going to non-preferred destinations increased in Falgun.