Malaysian Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan has said the overdependence on a small number of source countries like Bangladesh and Indonesia is responsible for delays in the entry of foreign labour into the country.
The country's employers' overreliance on foreign labour from only a few source countries may not only lower the competitiveness of the labour market but also possibly cause shortages in labour supply in those few countries, he said.
Saravanan mentioned that Malaysian employers prefer to recruit only Indonesians and Bangladeshis due to factors like language, religion, etc., reports The Star.
"However, recruitment from within these two countries has begun to dry up, resulting in a labour shortage in those countries as demand surpasses supply. This will result in imposition of more conditions and demands on the employers by the source countries as we rely too much on one country alone.
"That's why we recommend employers to expand recruitment to other source countries as there are 13 approved source countries currently," he said at the country's Human Resources Ministry's Customer Meet Day press conference on Thursday (22 September).
Saravanan said that this issue will cause employer delays owing to the necessity to negotiate new agreements and implement new adjustments to meet the new requirements of the source countries.
"The delays now are usually disagreements and implementation setbacks at the employer level as they are the ones that manage the influx of labour from source countries.
"The ministry's only role is the giving of special approval for the recruitment of labour to source countries which we have already done," he added.
The Malaysian Human Resources Ministry had previously allowed the hiring of foreign workers for three industries - construction, manufacturing and service - from all 15 source countries to help alleviate the ongoing labour shortage crisis.
On Wednesday (21 September), it approved the recruitment of 10,000 Sri Lankan workers into Malaysia in an effort to get employers to hire more labour workers from other source countries.
It was previously reported that over two million foreign workers returned home due to the Covid-19 pandemic which caused the ongoing labour shortage.
This ongoing labour shortage was previously reported to have resulted in the loss of billions for employers from various sectors with the plantation sector alone expected to have lost over RM32bil in revenue.