Friday, October 23, 2009

Foreign Locals

A short article in NST on 23/10/2009 titled Malaysia 3rd best for outsourcing.

Malaysia ranks third after India and China for outsourcing and more than 90,000 job opportunities have been created by multinational companies that have invested here. During question time yesterday, Deputy Ministry of International Trade and Industry Datuk Jacob Dungau Sagan told the house that a recent study showed Malaysia was a favourite among foreign companies. This year alone, 23 foreign companies invested RM1.02 billion, which will create 4,265 new job opportunities over five years, he said.

He didn't say the jobs are for Malaysians.

On 18/10/2009, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein reported Sabah to have 610,614 foreigners detected, the legal ones are only 230,000 (source from NST article). If you're living in Kuala Lumpur, you may have more than once being surrounded by foreigners when you're doing your shopping, taking a bus ride, eating out, and so on. Even the tourists may have mistaken them to be Malaysian because there are just too abundant of them around here!

I do admit, Malaysia needs foreign workers. But no matter what, we don't welcome those with dubious behaviour. We don't welcome Indonesian maids who abuse the children she's paid to take care of, or run away her employer's money and jewelries. It's our fault for mistreating the maids, hence no doubt those employers must be punished. But the employers' actions do not justify the maids' misconduct either. Why is the Indonesian government barking at us?

We don't welcome foreign workers who are illegal. If you don't have an identity here, you don't have the responsibility to carry yourself properly. Because it's difficult for us to identify you when you've committed a crime, or two, or more. We don't have the incentive to take care of you if you're not registered. And because you're not taken good care of, you take it out on the Malaysians. Rape cases, robbery, drug trafficking, murders, and the list goes on. Of course, not all (illegal) foreign workers are this bad. But if you have nothing to hide, why not use the proper way to come visit/work here? Tedious procedures? That's right. Those procedures are there for a reason - we don't need an influx of foreign workers to flood our job markets.

One may argue that the jobs taken up by them are jobs the choosy Malaysian to ego to have. But mark my words: the trend is changing fast. We always thought most of the foreign workers work in plantations and construction sites. The next thing you know, they're also working in factories and offices as maintenance staff (cleaning ladies). Not for long, you realise that they are operating the machines in those factories, and running around in coffee shops as a cheap labor for the tauke. Now, a lot of high-end restaurants are hiring them in a large scale as waiter and waitresses. Believe me, those I've come across give very good services, and are even friendlier than Malaysian counterparts. The only problem is their language proficiency, which gives them away every time they speak. So, are these jobs too lowly a job for Malaysians, too?

The biggest problem regarding the trend mentioned above is that it is a vicious cycle. We let foreign labors take up more "higher profile" jobs over the years. As Malaysians see that those jobs which once were theirs have now been labeled as "foreign worker's" job, and are instantly associated with others low profile jobs which are also taken up by the foreign workforce, Malaysian hence have a skewed mindset about working in these same positions. In the end, lesser locals want to fill those vacancies, leaving it a reason for more influx of foreign workers into Malaysian job market. And the cycle goes on.

We don't like the idea how the government is having double standard when it comes to granting citizenship to the long time inhabitants. Some foreign workers have only been here for 2 years and are granted Permanent Residence status, or even citizenship, while there are people who have been applying it through the legal, tedious process for more than 40 years but never hear a news from Home Ministry.

Back to the article mentioned. When we talk about multinational companies, what hit our minds is their profit-orientated nature. There is absolutely nothing wrong to be so. In fact, I even think that we should run our country like how we run our companies: invest in new potential employees and train them for free; send the existing ones for continuous growth from time to time; analyse business opportunity properly and take the best plunge; fulfill corporate social responsibility to increase company image; weed out corruption and have trust amongst colleagues; spend every cent at the most beneficial way with bigger returns in mind; the vision is to expand our influence all around efficiently.

My problem with that nature, however, is the fact that they hence tend to hire cheap foreign labors instead of Malaysians, even if they invested in Malaysia. Don't tell me that the higher position such as the branch manager might be a Malaysian, but look at the ratio of those who are benefited, 50 to 1, maybe? We applaud the advantages brought by foreign investors. New market, more competition for local business , more choices for consumers (I love this benefit dearly), among others. But really, is our government really doing enough in the check and balance for this foreign-investors-benefiting-the-locals move?

Think about it.

1 comment:

Xu Vin said...

no wonder the word multinational company struck u dis morn! haha!