New Straits Times (Online): 24/07/2018

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will closely monitor China-based automobile manufacturer Zhejiang Geely Holdings Bhd to ensure that it so does not neglect to hire Malaysian workers for national carmaker Proton.

In giving this assurance during the Dewan Rakyat proceedings today, Human Resources Minister M. Kula Segaran said the ministry will ensure that Geely abides by the nation's labour laws.

"With regards to Proton, we will carry out comprehensive investigations if they do not abide by the law," he said, adding that foreign firms are still bound by Malaysian laws on the employment of foreign workers.

Kula Segaran was replying an additional question by Datuk Abdullah Sani Abdul Hamid (PH-Kapar) regarding what steps the government would take to ensure Geely hires local workers despite it acquiring 49.9 per cent of Proton in September last year.

The minister's answer to the additional question was set against the backdrop of his answering Abdullah Sani's main question on what steps the government would take in the event that foreign companies that take over local ones refuse to hire Malaysians.

During the additional question, Abdullah Sani also raised the issue of the Labour Department having only 400 inspectors to monitor employers and ensure they follow the rules on the hiring of foreign labour.

Kula Segaran admitted that there was a shortage of labour inspectors to check on businesses.

"There are only 350 labour inspectors at present. We have applied to the Ministry of Finance to increase the number of officers," he said.

Earlier, in answering the main question from Abdullah Sani, Kula Segaran told the Dewan Rakyat that there were 1,781,598 registered foreign workers employed in five formal sectors and one informal sector as of May 31 this year.

The minister said employers are barred from firing local workers in order to hire foreign ones, in line with Section 60M of the Employment Act 1955.

He also pointed out that in the event that employers need to reduce their workforce due to over-abundance of employees, they must first let go of their existing foreign workers before they could terminate the services of local workers, in line with Section 60N of the same Act.

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