It was Dr M who opened the floodgates to foreign workers

Dato’ Eric See-To

It is ironic that Tun Mahathir’s Pakatan Harapan is the one using propaganda saying that Malaysia has too many foreign workers.

Did you know that its was Tun Mahathir himself who opened up the floodgates for foreign workers? Did you also know that he never once tried to reduce foreign workers in this 22 years in power?

During the boom years in the 1980s and 90s, Malaysia suffered from labor shortages. The country only had a work force of 8 million people. Many foreign companies complained there were not enough skilled workers. In 1997, there were an estimated 1.8 million foreign workers in Malaysia. Of these about 1.2 million were legal and about 800,000 were illegal. About three fourths of the foreign laborers were from Indonesia. Others were from the Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Thailand, Pakistan, and Burma.…/Malays…/sub5_4c/entry-3649.html

KLIA was designed by a foreign architect (from Japan) and built by foreign companies (mainly Japanese companies) using migrant labour from Indonesia and other countries.

KLCC was also designed by a foreign architect and built by foreign companies (mainly Japanese companies) using migrant labour from Indonesia and other countries.

Foreign workers and companies were the ones who built all the landmark projects of Mahathir.

The situation was inherited by Najib’s govt and he has to solve or mitigate the situation in a manner that will not collapse our economy. It is no easy task to correct this particular legacy issue.

When the current government tried to freeze all intakes of foreign workers in the early 2016, there was huge outcry from the businesses asking govt to reconsider. DAP leaders even asked government to lift the ban – saying it is hurting business.


Malaysia freezes recruitment of all foreign workers including those from Bangladesh…/malaysia-freezes-recruitment…

What the BN Government is now doing is that we have substantially increased the levies for all foreign workers based on sectors so that foreign workers will cost more to these companies in the hope that they will voluntarily reduce their hiring of foreign workers in favour of local workers.

Malaysians should remember that Mahathir is in fact the father of foreign workers in Malaysia.


If Pakatan is really so against migrant workers, the states of Penang and Selangor should pass city ordinances to stop issuing operations licenses to businesses and factories that hire foreign workers. So, why didn’t they do this?

Source: Eric See-To



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