The owner of Mydin hypermarket has called on the government to resolve the shortage of migrant workers in an effort to bring down the price of daily goods.
Ameer Ali Mydin said the manufacturing and agriculture industries were in need of workers.
“There are two factors behind the rising price of goods. One is because the price of commodities worldwide has shot up.
Previously, the Cameron Highlands Vegetable Growers’ Association said more than 2,000 vegetable farmers in the area were struggling with a labour crunch.
He said many migrant workers were being wooed away by competing employers in other sectors, such as in oil palm plantations.
Ameer said despite the demand for migrant workers, the government has set up roadblocks that made fulfilling the shortage difficult.
He said a push to get locals to take up agriculture jobs is not going to work and would be a futile effort.
“It’s not logical, because we know locals don’t want these jobs.
“I’m sure no parent wants their child to work on a farm, even I don’t want that. I want my child to be a bank clerk,” he said.
He was responding to Human Resources Minister M Saravanan, who said the government is prioritising getting locals jobs before bringing in migrant workers.
Ameer said this approach needs a rethink.
At the same time, he expressed scepticism over a recalibration programme to rehired undocumented migrants, citing concerns that those employed might run off after all the fees needed to rehire them are paid for.
As such, he said the government should repatriate undocumented migrants, and only allow those “who really want to work” in.