Govt Plans To Give More Job Opportunities To Ex-Convicts Instead Of Foreign Workers

Two ministries are collaborating to offer ex-convicts a second chance at life.

Cover image via Wiki Impact & Legal Advice

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The Malaysian government has announced plans to provide more job opportunities to local ex-convicts to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country

Human Resources Minister V Sivakumar revealed the plans in parliament today, 31 October, when he was responding to a question regarding the government's role in becoming a middle party between employers and Malaysian prisons for the purpose of replacing foreign workers with ex-convicts.

"We can use them (ex-convicts) to replace foreign workers," he said, adding, "Efforts have been made by the ministry in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, and they are implemented through the Social Security Organization (SOCSO) with various trainings provided.

"Many (ex-convicts) have been given job opportunities," he added. "Prisoners are given training, and when they come out, they can join the employment market," Bernama quoted him as saying.

Earlier this year, Sivakumar revealed that there was a large number of ex-prisoners who were ready to work after being released

In April, the minister said the total number of employable ex-convicts stood at 77,000. He had also encouraged more employers to come forward to give opportunities to these individuals.

A report by HR Asia said that between 2021 and March 2022, a total of 588 prisoners, ex-prisoners, and inmates from the Henry Gurney Schools (centres for juvenile offenders) had received employment offers through various initiatives, including the Free Inmates Licence Placement Programme and the Re-Entry@MyFutureJobs Programme.

Of the total, 409 were ex-prisoners, 44 were parolees and individuals under supervision, while the remainder were inmates from the Henry Gurney Schools.

Conversely, Sivakumar said there were an estimated 2,730,153 foreign workers in the country

Of this number, approximately 1.8 million were Temporary Employment Pass holders, 152,158 were foreign workers yet to enter the country, and 747,167 were registered illegal immigrants under the Workforce Recalibration Programme 2.0.

The minister said the use of foreign workers was for the purpose of meeting labour needs in sectors that had difficulty finding local workers. As such, he added, the government is currently looking at implementing initiatives to encourage local workers to enter fields dominated by foreign workers.

"The ministry encourages industries to switch to the use of automation, mechanisation, and digitalisation that can create demand for high-skilled workers, thus gradually reducing the dependence on low-skilled foreign workers," Sivakumar explained.

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