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Foreign Workers: ‘I Ordered Satay, I Got Caramel,’ Says Senator

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KUALA LUMPUR: There were guffaws and thumping of the tables in the Dewan Negara Wednesday when a senator related quirky incidents he experienced due to the inability of foreign workers in the country to communicate in Bahasa Melayu.

Senator Datuk Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah recalled how he had received different food from what he had ordered when dining at hotels.

“Yang dipertua (Senate president), my colleagues in the Senate and honorable ministers, I once ordered satay but was served caramel!

“I felt awkward and embarrassed as the foreign worker did not understand what I had ordered,” he said, which tickled the senators into roaring laughter and thumping of the table.

“They also don’t understand the Parliament logo at the front of our car, to the extent of I being cursed at and scolded over a parking problem. They have no respect for us.”

He said this after interjecting Human Resources Deputy Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib’s speech during the question-and-answer session on foreign workers.

Mohd Suhaimi urged the government and relevant parties to ensure the hiring of only foreign workers who understood the Malay language and respected this country’s laws and constitution.

Ismail admitted that there were still employers who recruited foreign workers with no communication skills and the government viewed this seriously for further action to be taken.

To the original question from Senator Datuk Ariffin Omar on ensuring that jobs were not taken away by foreign workers, Ismail said the Government had imposed a tight condition for employers to look for local workers first before opening the jobs to foreigners.

Ismail said the recruitment of foreign workers was open to only five formal sectors, namely construction, agriculture, plantation, manufacturing and services involving general workers and one informal sector – domestic help, which failed to attract locals.

To a question from Senator Datuk Boon Som Inong on the holding of the Asean Skills Competition 2016 in Kuala Lumpur, Ismail said the Government targeted Malaysia to emerge as champion to raise investors’ confidence in the country’s skilled workers. – Bernama

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