- Published on Thursday, 12 January 2017 14:13
KUALA LUMPUR: A pilot programme is underway to identify details of conditions under which Rohingya in the country can be employed.
Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed told the New Straits Times yesterday that the programme was in the early stages of identifying 300 Rohingya who were willing to work.
“We have set up a task force between the ministry and the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to identify the individuals.
“From what we know, they prefer not to work in structured jobs such as factory work. So that is why we are testing them out in agriculture, in plantations first.” Nur Jazlan said the programme was used to judge which jobs were suitable for the Rohingya and whether they were willing to take them.
He said the task force was taking its time to ensure that they chose the right people.
“This programme will go on first and other policies will follow later,” he said, adding that only Rohingya with UNHCR identification cards could be employed under the pilot programme.
It was reported that, until October last year, there were 150,669 refugees and asylum seekers registered with UNHCR in Malaysia. A total of 135,475 were from Myanmar — 54,856 Rohingya, 41,420 Chins, 10,928 Myanmar Muslims, 5,221 Rakhines and Arakanese, and other ethnicities.
Nur Jazlan said the freeze on intake of foreign workers would be maintained to encourage employers to hire Malaysians. “We lifted the freeze in manufacturing, construction, plantation and furniture-making last year because exports were affected and the employers demanded the lift.”
He said other sectors were still subject to the freeze, including the restaurant and retail sectors, where there was also big demand. “We cannot lift the freeze for all sectors.
There would be no incentive for employers to hire locals.
“So until we do the review (on the need for foreign workers), we will maintain the freeze. But our underlying policy is we do not want to open hiring of foreign workers in all sectors.”