NRC addresses labour shortage, foreign labour dependency

This is as only 163 of the 4,561 foreign worker quota applications have been processed so far


THE National Rehabilitation Council (NRC) said the country faced a domestic labour shortage of more than 20% when the pandemic hit the country.

Its chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government on Feb 15 opened applications for the recruitment of foreign workers in all sectors. However, only 163 of the 4,561 foreign worker quota applications have been processed to date.

“The council is also aware of the grievances and losses suffered by industrial operators, especially in the plantation, manufacturing and services sectors, due to labour constraints.

“Thus, the council calls for the expedited processing of applications for foreign workers by reducing bureaucracy, simplifying and improving the approval process to meet the needs of workers and demanding industries.

“As a short-term measure, we recommend that conditional approval be granted while in the long run, NRC is of the view that the structural issues of labour shortages and dependence on foreign labour should be addressed comprehensively,” he said at a press conference after the NRC meeting yesterday.

Muhyiddin said NRC acknowledge the initiatives made for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) affected by the pandemic and the flood disasters, as well as the current status of financial assistance to MSMEs.

“The council recommends that ministries identify the most affected sectors for initiatives to ensure that they are modified and targeted. This is to ensure no sector is left behind in the country’s recovery efforts,” he said.

He also added that the MySejahtera app as a contract tracing tool should be studied for effective use in the transition to the endemic phase.

“It is up to the Health Ministry to decide whether to use MySejahtera as a contract tracing tool or not. However, it is important that we study how it can be used effectively in the transition to the endemic phase,” he said.

On the issue of students affected by the pandemic, Muhyiddin said there was an increase in the number of children who have dropped out of school.

“There is also an increase in students who are unable to cope with their studies.

“In this regard, NRC supports recommendations tabled to address this issue,” he added.