Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said the proposal to bring in African workers, raised by Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran, remains just that – a suggestion.
However, he also indicated that he was not in favour of any such move.
"We have not decided yet, it is only a suggestion," he was quoted as saying by Utusan Malaysia during a Hari Raya open house in his constituency of Langkawi this afternoon.
"But I think we have many people in Malaysia so there is no need to bring in foreigners."
Yesterday, Kulasegaran said he was speaking to African nations about the possibility of bringing in their citizens in as foreign workers.
“I have been discussing with the ambassadors of African nations recently, and they will get the views of their respective governments on the matter.
“This is a start, and we look at the suitability (of foreign workers from African countries) because the ministry has received requests from employers wanting workers from the countries concerned to work in the plantation sector," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Kulasegaran's statement had set off a social media frenzy, with many weighing in on the relevance of such a policy.
At present, many of the country's foreign workers originate from Indochina and Bangladesh.
However, Kulasegaran said some of these workers, such as those from Vietnam, are no longer interested to work in Malaysia as wages are not significantly higher.