JOHOR BARU: Malaysians are not only crossing over to Singapore to work – they are also going to China, Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan and South Korea as they are better paid in these countries.
Former Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia president Teh Kee Sin said it was not only Malaysian professionals who were leaving the country, but also semi-skilled and skilled workers.
He said the depreciating ringgit and higher salaries offered in these countries were the main factors prompting Malaysians to look for jobs there.
“The view that Malaysians are not willing to do work deemed difficult and dirty is not right as many of them are taking up such jobs in these countries,” said Teh.
Unless Malaysian companies were willing to pay them well for menial and unskilled jobs, he added, the issue of locals not wanting to take up these jobs should not arise at all.
“Many commute to do such jobs in Singapore. There must be something wrong if a Malaysian is willing to work as a cleaner in Singapore but not in Johor Baru,” he said.
A human resources manager, who declined to be named, said highly skilled workers were sought after by oil and gas corporations based in Singapore and the Middle East.
He said Malaysia and companies operating locally were on the losing end as they had invested millions of ringgit to train locals but the foreign countries were the ones benefiting from the efforts.
“There is nothing much that we (Malaysia) can do to stop highly skilled locals in the oil and gas sector from working in other countries,” he said.
An attractive salary and remuneration package are the main reasons why many skilled Malaysians work in the oil and gas sector in Singapore and the Middle East.
For instance, the monthly salary in Malaysia for a certified welder with a 6G certification working offshore starts at between RM4,000 and RM5,000 monthly, he said.
“The same person will get between S$4,000 (RM11,900) and S$5,000 (RM14,900) in Singapore and US$10,000 (RM40,290) if he chooses to work in any of the oil-producing Arab countries,” he added.
He said the only way to stop highly skilled Malaysians from working in foreign countries was to pay a good monthly salary plus other perks.