Govt introduces two solutions to address labour shortage in plantation sector


THE government has introduced two solutions to address the negative impact of the shortage of foreign workers in the plantation sector, said Deputy Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister II Datuk Seri Dr Wee Jeck Seng.

“As a short-term measure, the government has given flexibility to employers, who are affected and unable to continue hiring foreign workers, to transfer or convert all or part of their foreign workers to other companies that in dire need of manpower through the Employer Exchange Application.

“The government has also launched the Illegal Immigrant Recalibration Plan, which started on Nov 16, 2020 until June 30, 2021, comprising two main components, namely the Return Recalibration Programme and Labour Recalibration Programme,” he said in response to a question from Shaharizukirnain Abd Kadir (PAS-Setiu) at the Dewan Rakyat today.

Shaharizukirnain wanted to know the mechanism taken by the ministry to address the negative impact of the shortage of foreign workers in the plantation sector.

Wee said the Return Recalibration Programme allows illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin voluntarily subject to certain conditions, while the Labour Recalibration Programme would turn illegal immigrants into legal foreign workers, employed by qualified employers, subject to strict conditions decided by the government.

“The ministry will redouble its efforts to overcome the shortage of workers in the plantation and commodity sectors through a campaign to woo more locals, including Orang Asli, to work in these sectors,” he said.

He said the government was aware of the situation faced by the industries on the shortage of manpower following the COVID-19 pandemic which is currently entering the third wave.

“The ministry is also aware that the shortage of manpower in the plantation and commodity sectors is quite critical and it is feared that it could affect the performance and progress of the country’s agriculture industry,” he said.