COMMENT | Our opioid dependence on cheap foreign labour

Parameswaran Sivalingam

Modified 23 May 2020, 12:46 am

COMMENT | As a nation, our reliance on foreign workers in the construction industry has become an opioid crisis that does not seem to go away.

The industry keeps complaining about the labour shortage on the one hand but little effort has been made to address the low productivity growth. Based on a study by Khazanah in 2017, the level of labour productivity for the manufacturing sector in Malaysia increased by almost three-and-a-half-fold between 1985 to 2016.

However, the labour productivity of the construction sector during the same corresponding period only increased by 0.5 times, with productivity even decreasing in 2005. What are the causes of this abysmal situation? One of the main contributory factors is the continuing demand for cheap labour and the shortage of unskilled labour in the country... 

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