Wednesday 22 October 2008


TRULY Hard Earned MONEY.

The 2.1 Million REGISTERED foreign workers in Malaysia are expected to earn more than RM20 Billion this year, and at least RM18.1 Billion of that amount will be remitted to their country of origin.

A Bernama dispatch from Dewan Rakyat quoted Deputy Prime Minister / Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak saying that up till last June, the foreigners have send home more than RM 9 Billion.

The 2.1 million REGISTERED foreign workers’ ACTUAL EARNINGS must definitely be much higher than the amount that is being remitted home.

Put your ears to the ground and information suggests that for every ONE Registered foreign worker, there could be TWO or more UNREGISTERED ones.

And for every ONE foreign worker who remits his earnings legally via recognized financial tools, FIVE or more are passing their earnings home through others means, via both traditional and ‘underground’ networks.

So, the REAL amount of money being sent out from Malaysia annually by foreign workers (both registered & unregistered) could be astronomical … what more their ACTUAL EARNINGS.

I’m sure by now tongues would be wagging, some with a big pinch of jealousy, wondering how these Indonesians’, Bangladeshi Bhaiyas’, Indians, Nepalis’, Burma boys and the Vietnamese could chart such figures.

Have you seen how they work? Have we not noticed how enterprising the Indonesian traders in Chow Kit and the Bhaiyas’ in Petaling Street are? Have you witnessed how hardy they are in our oil-palm plantations?

So, you want to blame them for making so much money or kick yourself real hard if you’re one of the unemployed Malaysians?

I was jolted when a TV talk-show host, while commenting on the Finance Minister’s statement in Dewan Rakyat, claimed that ‘there are many areas in Kuala Lumpur where local women are babysitting Indonesian children while their ‘foreign worker’ parents are minting money on Malaysian soil’.

My friends! If that is real, is it something which requires immediate attention from the highest level?

Are we supposed to initiate another round of the blame-game now and point fingers at each other, or should we accept the fact that they have become part and puzzle of our Life in Malaysia?

Among the foreign workers here the Indonesians form the majority (both registered & unregistered), and they are also our closest ‘family member’ in this region.

While we agree that some of our Indonesian brothers and sisters are criminals, they’re no different from those criminals among us.

A Big majority of them are simply HARDWORKING people who are actually sacrificing a great deal by contributing their share towards OUR nation building.

We actually owe them a BIG Thank You! In fact we should send each and every one of their High Commissions or Embassy here a 'Thank You' note.

p/s 1.Government could consider some ‘out-of-the-box’ initiatives to ensure more of their earnings in Ringgit Malaysia are accounted for and legally transmitted via recognized means.

2. Strict enforcement of the existing laws, including the Labor Law, could benefit the Government and the workers as an increasing number of employers are turning out to be Vampires. Strict enforcement would not only deter illegal immigrants but would also ensure a better working/living condition for the legal foreign workers.

3. Sometimes when I look at the condition of some foreign workers in plantations and construction sites, I wonder if this was how the British treated our fellow Malaysians of Chinese and Indian origin more than 50 years ago.

God Bless Malaysia!

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Raison D'etre said...

I do beg to differ slightly in the thank you bit.

Yes, they are hard workers, but their inclusion into certain sectors like manufacturing and services depresses the wage ceiling in the country to a low level.

12 years ago when I came into the working group as a management trainee, I earned RM1,800.

Fast forward to 2008, I believe the figure has not moved by much. Let's not talk about real wages: RM1,800 is not worth much these days.

What is the cause of this stagnation in wages?

Its somewhat unfortunate that in our bid to provide cheap (as opposed to skilled labour)we had chosen the route of employing foreign labours.

Where I am staying, every morning you could see two or three buses with tens of foreign women (young ones) alighting from them.

I always assumed that they are factory workers from their dressing.

So what's this about the country only utilising foreign workers where locals don't want to work?

I was a factory worker before and Malaysian workers are as just as hardworking as anyone else.

Just harder to manipulate in terms of being milked for their efforts.

Just my two cents.


Unknown said...

the babysitter may not even earn anything?

perhaps a more clever accounting could be employed to pay housewives, fishermen and farmers decent wages for their toil

some assistance in marketing and transportation could be rendered to increase their earnings for self-sustenance

Anonymous said...

Malaysia shouldn't let those so called foreign investors (especialy Taiwanese) setup manufacturing factories here but preferred to employ or exploit the low waged foreign workers. Why not shift those factories to Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burma or Vietnam instead?
Have you seen those hardworking Malaysian workers working in Singapore? This is pure exploitation by our local & foreign employers! Can Malaysian workers survive on say RM20 daily wage (about RM600/month)?
If say Japan, Korea or even Singapore practise same policy as ours, I'm sure many Japanese, Koreans or Singaporeans would be jobless because their jobs would be taken over by foreigners.

Anonymous said...


I wonder when the ACA is going to charge the National Registration Department bosses for issuing MyKads to hundreds of thousands of Indonesians.

The cleaner ladies in my office who only came to Malaysia last year have blue MyKads. How's that?

I think the ACA have to go after those responsible in giving citizenships to aliens for a fee before Malaysia becomes Indonesia's 17,509th island.

Thulasi punya bapa pun IC merah....

Anonymous said...

The irony of malaysians prefering to go to Singapore to work as factory workers, is one very good example.If wages, bonus and benefits like medical, dental, transportantion and housing allowance and etc don't improve, how to expect Malaysians contributing locally ? It's a no wonder foreign labour thrive because they are willing to work at much lower wages minus most basic benefits. I agree with raison d' etre

"Malaysian's are just harder to manipulate in terms of being milked for their efforts "

And we wonder why they keep coming back to work in Malaysia, although they are being "ill treated"...

I wonder why Singapore bother to hire Malaysian -factory workers , bus drivers, telco staff and etc, afterall, Indonesians would be a whole lot cheaper labour compared to Malaysians?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps we should give PRs and citizenship to these hard working foreigners who have been here for long. Allow them to continue working hard and let the money remain in the country.
This should invariably create a competitive field for work, where locals will have to work tooth and nail.
Also bringing in such diverse expats, bangladeshis, pakistanis, indons, burmese - should create another class of people - that should not dilute the current minority trends that have been dominated with Chinese and Indias.

This should work if we can attract skillfull, and professional middle class from these countries.