Saturday, October 1, 2011

889,779 foreigners push Sabah to the top spot

(Daily Express) - Sabah has the most migrant workers in the country, recording a 44.7 per cent increase from 614,824 in 2000 to 889,779 in 2010.

Women, Family and Community Ministry Secretary General, Dato Dr Noorul Mohd Nur, said this after launching the Indonesian Workers in Tawau Seminar Findings here, Thursday.

The figures were based on the 2010 Population and Housing Census, which shows 27.7 per cent out of the 3.2 million population in Sabah comprised migrant workers with a majority of them being Indonesians.

"In 2000, Sandakan recorded the most migrant workers (114,230).

However in 2010, Tawau recorded the most (171,409) most of whom are Indonesians," she said.

She said that in the context of the nation's development, especially Sabah, the focus was on legal migrant workers and not illegal migrants.

"A research conducted in 2010 by the Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) in Tawau, which is an agency under the Ministry disclosed three main reasons for the influx. First was for reasons of employment, second was to garner higher income and third was to follow their spouse or relatives who have entered the State.

"Even though the intake of migrant workers has assisted in the economic growth of the nation, the government takes seriously the issues concerning the influx of migrant workers because of the negative implications such as remittances.

"Among steps taken is to monitor and control the number of migrant workers entering the country. However, local employers should also offer more jobs opportunities to the local community.

"There are many employers who prefer employing migrant workers due to the cheaper labour compared to the locals, which deprives our locals from obtaining employment in various sectors mainly plantation, manufacturing and service sectors," she said.

She disclosed that a policy is being formulated by the Economic Planning Unit and the Government on how to ensure local workers are not excluded in these sectors.

Commenting on the implementation of high technology in the sectors, she said: "Employers prefer to take in migrant workers even though they are unskilled due to the cheaper labour.

"Many of the employers do not use high technology because it would mean they have to employ skilled workers which costs higher than unskilled workers.

"If we don't implement technology now, then our country will not achieve our target of being a developed economic nation by 2020," she said.

Towards its end, she said it is important for the State Government to review the employment categories and competency level, which is needed in human resources development.

"This step is necessary because if many of the jobs offered are for unskilled or semi-skilled workers, despite the fact that many locals have achieved tertiary education, then the work generated would not benefit the community.

"In line with the implementation of the Sabah Development Corridor, the State is expected to face a major transformation by 2025," she said.

"The State's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can by then expect to increase to RM63.2 billion with per capita increasing to RM14,800.

"Based on the analysis by the SDC, the unemployment rate in the State will be decreased to 3.5 per cent and new job opportunities are expected to increase to 900,000 by year 2025," she said, advising locals to grab the job opportunities offered through the SDC.


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