By BORNEOTODAY REPORTERS
KOTA KINABALU: The Parti Warisan Sabah-led government stresses that its intention to legalise foreign workers who are already in the state is meant as an immediate solution to labour problems in Sabah.
Shortage of labour is particularly severe in oil palm plantations and as a source of major income for Sabah, there is an urgent need to address the problem in this economic sector.
“We are aware of the need for a more comprehensive human resource solution to enable the local labour force to partake in the industry.
“We have seen how one state government after another have tried to reduce dependence on foreign labour but to no avail,” said Darell Leiking, Deputy President of Parti Warisan Sabah in a statement Friday.
He also claimed that despite the government’s well intentioned efforts, a deceitful smear campaign is being hatched by certain people to sow hatred in the minds of people.
Rogue news portals and paid cyber troopers put up postings on social media to provoke hate in a bid to smear the government led by Datuk Seri Panglima Hj Mohd Shafie bin Hj Apdal.
Over the last few days, these portals and cyber troopers have been spreading claims that no action would be taken against any ships or boats flying Warisan flags and are also trying to twist announcements by the government on solutions to labour problems in the state.
Darell, who is also the Member of Parliament for Penampang, lamented how Sabahans often shun menial work and admitted that foreign workers provided a cheaper source of labour.
However, he suggested that employers offer better pay and perks for the local workers in order to reduce dependence on foreign labour.
“I can assure that the state government under Warisan will come out with comprehensive plans for local human resource development to ensure more locals get jobs and fit in well in the plantation, construction and other labour-intensive industries.
“But it is also time for the employers themselves to do their own soul-searching and think of how much effort they have made to assist the government in hiring locals.
“What perks have they offered to the locals? Already, many Indonesian labourers have returned to their home country to work in plantations where some are owned by Malaysian companies because they are given a good deal with proper housing and other benefits,” added Darell.