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Friday, April 30, 2010

Don’t buy the excuses

IT IS with a deep sense of foreboding that I read of attempts by multinationals to coerce the Government through misinformation into finding solutions to problems created by these companies themselves.

A Starbiz report quoted International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, after meeting with six multinational corporations, as saying: “A possible solution is to adopt a flexible policy to attract foreign skilled workers … we must also find a way to retain skilled workers … from the feedback of the six companies, Malaysians … prefer to work in 7-eleven outlets, although the pay is lower.”

It was also reported that these companies cannot find enough local workers to be technicians, engineers and operators.

The first semiconductor facility was in Penang in 1972. Since then, we have become the largest exporter of semiconductors in the world, employing thousands of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled workers.

We have all these categories of workers in abundant supply. Many of them have been sent to head top management and technical positions throughout the world, even in China and the US.

We have all the skills that are needed right here. This writer has worked in a senior position for one for more than 25 years.

Then again, there are thousands of fresh unemployed engineers and technicians in this country. Employ them. Train them. And retain them with innovative retention practices.

When this is pointed out, these companies claim they are not employable for various flimsy reasons.

Why? Because it is cheaper and easier to hire and retain trained foreign workers from under developed countries than to do the same for our people.

If 50% of 450 engineers had left a company after training within five years, then that company has a major management issue. It is not for the Government to address this.

Also, it is a sad reflection of the six companies that Malaysians prefer to work in grocery stores for lesser pay rather than in multinational companies. Something is seriously wrong with these companies. Employing foreign workers addresses just the symptoms, not the root cause.

Why should the Government provide incentives to these companies only to see them employ foreigners?

Shah Alam

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