Negotiations underway for exemption to secure 20,000 foreign workers – Khairuddin

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MELAKA: A request from the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (MPIC) to obtain a government exemption from the foreign labour hiring freeze was made yesterday (THURSDAY) in order to secure 20,000 foreign workers .

Minister Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali was reported as saying it was important to consider in view of the plantation and commodity sector being the largest group dependent on foreign workers.

The Ministry has in-principle approval to get foreign workers for the oil palm sector and will be negotiating to secure foreign workers for the timber sector.

At the Jerayawara Malaysian Timber Council (MTC) 2021 roadshow here yesterday he explained that to alleviate the temporary foreign worker shortage in the timber sector MPIC had provided various funds as incentives to attract more local workers.

A website under the Human Resources Ministry is offering training for those interested in entering the field he said.

The Minister said the timber industry’s operational transformation towards the adoption of automation and digitalisation suggested it would be the best move for reducing dependence on foreign labour.

The timber industry is the third largest commodity sub sector after oil palm and rubber so it also faces various challenges including the challenges related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The MTC has set aside RM2.8 million from a RM28.3 million development fund to usher in the industry’s operational transformation towards automation and digitalisation.

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